Festa della Sensa 2012: once again this year Venice celebrates its union with the sea
20 May 2012
Amongst the traditional events that take place every year in Venice, the famous Festa della Sensa (or Ascension Festival) gives rise to the fascinating history of Venice, its union with the sea and the practice of Venetian rowing.This year the Festa della Sensa will take place on Sunday 20th May: for the whole day Venice will be plunged into a twirl of emotions and joy.A feast already celebrated at the time of the Venice Republic during the day of the Ascension of Christ, the Festa della Sensa commemorates two important events of the history of Venice. The first dates back to the 9th of May of the year 1000 when the 26th Venice Doge, Pietro ll Orseolo, set off with its fleet in aid of the Dalmatian populations threatened by the Slavonic pirates. The important victory obtained by the Venice fleet marked the beginning of the political, trade and military expansion of the Venice Republic.The other event remembered during the Festa della Sensa is the end of the secular diatribe between Papacy and the Empire that took place in Venice in 1177 when Pope Alessandro lll and the Emperor Federico Barbarossa stipulated a peace treaty. During the Festa della Sensa, the rite of the Wedding with the Sea would take place in Venice: on board his galley (called Bucintoro the Venice Doge, would reach St Peter of the Castle at St Elena where he would receive a blessing from the bishop. The Festa della Sensa would then reach a climax with a propitiatory rite during which the Venice Doge would cast a golden ring into the sea to emphasize the union of the Republic of Venice with the sea.Considered one of the most traditional celebrations in Venice, the Festa della Sensa has been enriched since 1965 with relevant cultural additions related to the theme of this celebration. The ancient rite of the Wedding with the Sea is still felt with great participation by the inhabitants of Venice: every year the historic regatta, formed by civil, religious and military authorities sets off from St Marks heading towards the mouth of St Nicol, where the ring is thrown into the waves. Anybody owning a boat can join this suggestive re-enactment and contribute to making it even more colourful and lively.On top of the re-enactment, the new Festa della Sensa now includes the Adriactic Twinning and the award Premio Osella dOro della Sensa. The former links Venice with a city or a geographic area that has had a privileged relationship with Venice in a bond of culture, love of the sea and the activities connected with the sea; the latter is given to public agencies, institutions and private citizens that have brought prestige to the city with activities in the spheres of culture, crafts and businesses. Additionally, the Festa della Sensa includes the Sensa Market, at the church of San Nicol di Lido, the Venetian style rowing races, the water parade by local rowing clubs and numerous other collateral events. The Festa della Sensa is one of the most awaited for events in Venice. An opportunity for getting together and participating in the history and the most ancient traditions in Venice, as well as a highly participated homage to Venice, its thousand-year long history and the sea.