The Redeemer Festival in Venice and the plague of 1576 on the Lazaretto IslandHistorical Curiosities
The Redeemer Festival in Venice and the plague of 1576 on the Lazaretto Island
The Festival of the Redeemer in Venice is perhaps the most important celebration of the lagoon city, but is linked to a truly tragic event: the plague that struck the city in 1575 and in two years caused 50,000 deaths, nearly one out of three Venetians. In September 1576, the Senate asked for divine help vowing to build a new church dedicated to the Redeemer, and in May 1577 the foundation stone of the project by Andrea Palladio was laid and on the 20th July the end of the plague was celebrated with a procession which reached the church by a bridge of boats, starting a tradition that has lasted to this day.
If you search for traces of this terrible plague you can visit the Lazaretto Nuovo Island, located near St. Erasmus Island, reached by water bus n° 13.
The island became a place of default (that is, quarantine because it lasted 40 days) for ships arriving from the various Mediterranean ports, suspected to be carriers of the disease. In order to optimize the health facility many buildings were built, including the sixteenth century Tezon Grande, more than 100 meters in length (the largest public building in Venice after the Corderia of the Arsenal), and a place of hospitalization of patients. It still retains many original writings and drawings that attest to the presence of merchants, "bastazi" (porters) and the Guardians of the Magistrate of Health, describing the arrivals of ships and trades (from Constantinople, Nafplio in the Peloponnese, Alexandria, Cyprus...) and citing seals and symbols, names of doges and sailors.
It is possible to take a guided tour every Saturday and Sunday at 9.45 am and 4.30 pm.
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