FESTA DEA SENSA
FESTA DEA SENSA 18th OF MAY 2023
FEAST OF THE ASCENSION
CELEBRATIONS AND REGATTAS ON SUNDAY 21st OF MAY
The Festa della Sensa (or Ascension Day Festival) was a feast of the Republic of Venice still loved and celebrated today. It commemorates two important dates in the Republic’s history which took place on Ascension Day (“Sensa” in Venetian).
The first event goes back to the year 1000 AD when the Doge Pietro II Orseolo defeated the Slaves, defending the inhabitants of Zara and Dalmatia from their incursions and extending the dominion of the Rupiblic on the Adriatic sea.
The second commemorates the end of the old diatribe between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire on 1177 AD, when the Doge Sebastiano Ziani welcomed Alessandro III Pope and Federico Barbarossa in St. Mark’s Basilica to make a peace agreement.
To celebrated these events was held the ceremony of the Marriage of the Sea (in Italian “Sposalizio del Mare”), which is also today one of the most sumptuous celebrations in Venice. On the Ascension Day the Doge – today the Mayor of Venice – sails on board of the ceremonial galley (called “Bucintoro”) along San Nicolò Canal to San Pietro di Castello where the Bishop of Venice is waiting to bless him.
The last Marriage of the Sea carried out by a Doge took place in 1796 but today Venice commemorates it again at the traditional way, with also a Venetian rowing competition and many other events that attract thousands of visitors every year.