We had the amazing good fortune of being in Venice for the annual Festival of the Redeemer. In the 16th century 50,000 Venetians (1/3 of the population) died from the plague. In 1578, the survivors gave thanks for the grace afforded them by building a cathedral and creating the festival to remember their blessing. The festival begins with an amazing fireworks display over the Grand Canal on Saturday evening and a special mass is held on Sunday attended by the Patriarch of Venice and the people. The fireworks show lasted 40 minutes and practically everyone on the island gathered in boats and around the lagoon to watch. On the way back to the hotel we caught a glimpse of a calm, quiet canal at night.