Festa della Sensa 2016

The Marriage of Venice with the Sea

08 May 2016

The Festa della Sensa is surely one of the most impressive traditional festivals in Venice! On 8th May witness this original Festa della Sensa 2016 in Venice event that will relive the ancient history of the Venetian Republic, with the marriage of the sea ceremony and the Venice Regatta 2016.

In Venice, the Sensa Festival (Ascension Day) and its regattas attract every year thousands of spectators, offering them an exciting show of folklore and tradition. The Festa della Sensa in Venice confirms itself as one of the most appreciated traditional events in Venice by tourists from all over the world, and also by the residents of the capital of Veneto.

La Sensa festival in Venice is rooted in the Serenissima Republic, which established this traditional event on the day of Christ's Ascension (Sensa in the local dialect), to remember two very important victories. One is that on 9th May of the year 1000 when the Doge Pietro Orseolo II defeated the Slavic pirates who threatened Dalmatia, allowing Venice to start its accomplishment to achieve the domination of the Adriatic Sea. The second traditional event in Venice commemorates the victory that came in 1177, when the Doge Sebastiano Ziani welcomed in St Mark's Basilica Frederick Barbarossa and Pope Alexander III, to conclude the peace treaty to mark the end of the centuries-old dispute between Empire and Papacy. On that occasion the Doge received from the Pope a blessed ring as a sign of reward, confirming Venice's dominion over the seas.

In Venice, Festa della Sensa reached its peak with the ceremony of the marriage of the sea: Venice Doge, on board the Bucintoro, reached St Helena where he met the Bishop at San Pietro di Castello and received his precious blessing. Once at the mouth of the port of San Nicolò, the Doge threw a gold ring into the waters of the lagoon to seal the link between Venice and the Sea.

After the fall of the Venice Republic, Venice began to celebrate the Sensa Festival starting in 1965 to celebrate the marriage of the sea with the Festa della Sensa Regatta. Today, the Sensa Festival, represents an important opportunity to get together to learn about the Venice history and keep alive the traditional festivals in Venice.

As per tradition, the Sensa festival 2016 will begin with the classic water parade, made up of the rowing boats from the Venetian Rowing Society and led by the 'Serenissima', with the mayor and the city authorities on board. From St Mark's, the procession will reach the Port of St Nicolò, where the rite of Venice married to the sea will be celebrated with the symbolic launch of the ring into the water. Once in the Lido, the church of St Nicolò will host the ritual religious service followed by a typical market in the overlooking square.

The program of Festa della Sensa Venice 2016 includes a special twinning with the city of Florence to celebrate the 50° anniversary of the terrible flood that damaged both Venice and Florence in 1966.

As per every year, the Festa della Sensa 2016 will end with various Venetian rowing competitions and other traditional events.

Below, the detailed program of Sensa in Venice 2016

Sunday 8th May

- 9am - Gathering of the boats in St Mark's basin for La Sensa Venice Regatta 2016

- 9:30am - Departure of the water parade for St Nicolò di Lido

- 10:30am - Ceremony of Venice marriage to the sea in front of the St Nicolò di Lido Church

- 11am - Performance by the Serenissima Choir in the churchyard of the church of San Nicolò di Lido

- 11:30am - Mass in the church of San Nicolò di Lido

Starting from 9.45am: regattas of the rowing season - The expected itinerary of the regattas is from the Basin of St Mark's Basin to the Riviera of St Nicolò al Lido where the prize giving for the various categories will be held.

On 8th May 2016, watch and admire one of the most beautiful and ancient traditions of Venice: the Sensa Festival in Venice will remember when the Doge of Venice married to the sea with boat races and many other celebrations and festivals. Book a hotel in Venice historic centre and relive the magical atmosphere of the Venetian Republic!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff