Festa di Santi Pietro e Paolo: Join in the Fun at Venice on June 29!
Festa di Santi Pietro e Paolo, which means the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, is celebrated throughout many cities in Italy on 29 June each year. Since Peter and Paul are the patron saints of Rome, that city is most known for the Saints’ Feast, but if you’re looking for things to do in Venice, this is yet another homage that has been taking place for centuries. In fact, 29 June is a public holiday all over Italy.
So if you travel to Venice near the end of June, visitors will find many scrumptious and traditional Italian foods, wines and games in honor of Saints Peter and Paul (Santi Pietro e Paolo). In Venice, the feast takes place primarily on June 29 and June 30, but in Rome it begins on June 28 and commences on June 30.
But we’re talking Venice. The feast day of Saints Peter and Paul is held in a grassy square in front of the ex-cathedral of Venice which is the Church of San Pietro di Catello. This is not a well-known area of the city, so it is a good chance to experience Venice off the beaten path. And how refreshing considering the overflow of Venice tourists! As well, it’s wonderful to observe and interact with Venetian locals in a more intimate setting.
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul include food stalls, kiosks and a market that sells local goods. In case we haven’t emphasized it enough, traditional (and delectable) Venetian wine and food abound! On the last day of June, a gigantic Bingo game takes place in the same area, right outside of the Church of San Pietro di Castello. While admission is definitely free, don’t forget your cash for Bingo on June 30 as you play right alongside the Venetians. A good way to practice your Italian, too!
The feast, less commonly referred to as a festival, is held in the square on June 29 in front of the church of San Pietro and can easily be enjoyed by bringing a blanket along and experiencing one of the very last – if not the last – grassy squares in Venice (campo).
The Church of San Pietro di Catello is inconspicuously located on Olivolo Island in Venice which is in the Eastern part of the city. An ancient church that was created in 650, it was the first building erected in the lagoon. San Pietro di Catello was the focal point for commercial, political and religious happenings in the ancient city of Venice. The church was initially dedicated to Saints Sergius and Bacchus, and was reconstructed from 774 until 841. With its enlargement, Venetians also dedicated it to Saint Peter.
Bishops resided at San Pietro di Catello until 1451 when it became the residence for the Venetian patriarch. The façade was designed by Andrea Pallidio in 1556, and later restored and replicated by Andrea Smeraldi who used Pallidio’s original design.
Besides the astounding architecture of the church, here visitors can view the masterful works of great artists such as Luca Giordano, Pellegrini and Veronese. The Church of San Pietro di Catello also contains the painting of Saint Peter and Four Saints by Basaiti, whose work is reminiscent of Basaiti’s. The Church of San Pietro di Catello has an altogether very calming and relaxing atmosphere, as does its surrounding landscape.
Other events for the Festa di Santi Pietro e Paolo include a liturgical celebration for the saints as well as art and photography shows. There is a designated local committee who plans the events each year which is steadily growing in popularity.
Venice’s Feast of Saints Peter and Paul resembles a town festival with the old and young alike waiting in anticipation, helping to plan and sometimes perform in musical groups. The event continues to focus on long-standing traditions of Venice, Italy, such as its mouth-watering Venetian dishes, markets and classic wines, but the Festa di Santi Pietro e Paolo has modernized ever so slightly by bringing in musical groups from the 60s and 70s such as the Giants, Formula 3 and Alan Parsons.
Venice, Italy has many spring and summer festivals, but when you’re planning travel to Venice, Italy, consider this lovely yet lesser-known, relaxing yet spirited feast: the Festa di Santi Pietro e Paolo on 29 and 30 June.
And while the Venice locals cherish the calm and relaxing mood of the celebration, they’re certain to welcome you since it is also a charitable event. Just be sure to bring an appetite, and get ready for games with locals the day following the feast. Thankfully nothing here takes much tourist preparation, so sit back and enjoy your trip to Venice!