Local traditions: festival, feasts and “sagre” in Venice and the islands
Feasts and sagre in Venice

A guide to traditional feasts in Venice – summer 2016

Discover Venice through its many traditional feasts and sagre.

Summer time, feast time. Better: tempo di sagre e feste! “Sagra” is the Italian word to describe a celebration or commemorative party for a consecration of a place or item of worship, and it has the same root of “sacred”. Nowadays the secular aspect has mostly overtaken the religious one, so the feasts are more occasions to listen to music, dancing and eating in open air all together than a religious moment, but if you like going local on your travels they are the right place for it. Just do not forget to go for a nice run the day after in order to burn out all the food and wine calories you (rightly) got during the night!

Feasts spread all over the summer time in Venice and its islands, from June to September and quite all of them are organized by no-profit associations similar to mutual societies, in some cases linked to the local parish, that aim to collect money for charity purposes. In the islands of the Venetian lagoon, especially in Pellestrina island, they are partecipated by the whole local community and are one of the most important events of the year: all the town/neighborhood takes part to its organization and the feasts are really crowded by people for all their duration.

One feast stands totally apart from the others: the Festa del Redentore (Feast of the Redeemer). It is held every third Sunday of July, on the day of the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer, and during the Saturday eve thousand of Venetians stand in the fondamenta and fill up the Saint Mark’s basin on their boats festooned with balloons and garlands.

Consider that all the feasts are a good occasion to visit places in Venice (and Italy in general) in which maybe you wouldn’t go otherwise, more you can tast the traditional Venetian recipes as all the feasts are provided with cooking stalls. Typically the activities take place especially during the night. Put on comfortable shoes, look on your map for the precise feast’s place – usually a big campo – and get ready to mingle with locals!

We will periodically publish in the news section the appointments for the most important feasts writing a short description of them and giving you all the logistic details. Stay tuned!

About Author

Roberto Marin