Festa della Sensa (Feast of the Ascension) is certainly one of the most evocative Venetian traditions, recalling important moments in the history of the Serenissima, through the ceremony of the Marriage of the Sea (Sposalizio del Mare) and the various regattas that takes place, on this occasion, in the Lagoon.
Festa della Sensa is, without doubt, one of the most anticipated and appreciated events of the Venetian calendar, not only by tourists, but also by the inhabitants of the city.
The feast was born on the day of the Ascension of Christ, to commemorate two very important moments in the history of Venice.
The first event occurred on May 9, in the year 1000, when Doge Pietro Orseolo defeated the Slavs who threatened Dalmatia, allowing Venice to become, starting with that moment, the absolute power of the Adriatic Sea.
The second event recalls the peace treaty signed in Venice in 1177, between the Doge Sebastiano Ziani, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and Pope Alessandro III, which marked the end of the centuries-old conflict between the Empire and the Papacy. On this occasion, the Doge received gifts from the Pope and, at the same time, the recognition of Venice as the supreme ruler of the Adriatic.
After the collapse of the Venetian Republic, the tradition of the feast was abandoned until 1965, when the Feast of the Ascension was revived for a short time. It was not until 1989, when a group of citizens and some cultural associations set up the Comitato della Sensa, the organization that will fight for the introduction of this festival in the Venetian calendar of events.
FESTA DELLA SENSA 2019 will take place on the weekend of June 1-2. On Sunday, 2nd of June, the feast will begin with the classic water parade consisting of rowing boats guided by the famous Bucentaur (Bucintoro), the boat of the Doges of Venice. From San Marco, the procession will reach the Church of San Nicolo, on Lido, where the ceremony of the Marriage of the Sea will be held.
Like every year, the festival will end with the Regata della Sensa, which include various Venetian rowing competitions.