Sensa Fest Day

the traditional Ascension Day

24 May 2009

Seven days after Easter, in accordance with the traditional Ascension Day holiday, Venice celebrates its famous marriage to the sea: a highly-charged rite dating back almost 1000 years, a mixture of civil and religious components which combine to continue producing emotion in the present-day inhabitants. Its origins can be traced to two separate historical episodes: the first when, in the year 1000, the Doge Pietro Orseolo II liberated the people of Istria and Dalmatia from the Saracen threat, thus taking control of the Adriatic Coast; the second dates from 1177, the year in which Venice, under the guise of Doge Sebastiano Ziani, effected the reconciliation between Pope Alexander III and the Emperor Barbarossa, and saw the Pope throwing a golden ring into the waters of the lagoon, blessing the marriage of the city with the sea which it merited by its power and conquests. From that date until the present day every year the court comprising the civic, religious and military authorities convene and form a procession from Saint Marks Square to the port of San Niccol on the Lido to re-enact this ritual, throwing a ring into the waters and then proceeding to the chucrch of San Niccol for the ceremony. Accompanying the procession are a flotilla of period gondolas and craft, adding a sporting touch to the event. Any vessel can also join the ceremony. The days events commence at 9a.m with the rallying of the craft at the jetty of Saint Marks. The procession starts at 9.30, while the marriage to the sea is programmed for 11.30.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff