Festa della Sensa 2021

The Marriage of Venice with the Sea

From 15 May 2021 to 16 May 2021

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The Festa della Sensa is surely one of the most impressive traditional festivals in Venice! On May 15 and 16 witness this original Festa della Sensa 2021 in Venice event that will relive the ancient history of the Venetian Republic, with the marriage of the sea ceremony and the Venice Regattas.

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 Bucentaur, reached the island of Sant?elena 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 2021 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.


Below, the detailed program of Sensa in Venice 2021:

Sunday May 16

  • 10.30 - Marriage of the Sea Ceremony (Venice Lido, in front of the Church of San Nicolò)

  • 11.00 - Holy Mass in the church of San Nicolò


Side events

Friday May 14, from 11.00 to 12.00

Online (to be booked on the official website of Veneziaunica)

Third Conversation of the programme 'Global Campus of Human Rights Conversations: Possible futures for Venice'.

The third edition of the Global Campus of Human Rights aims to provide some food for thought on the possible futures of Venice and will do so thanks to the words of the following speakers, who will talk about possible futures based on historical traditions (such as Festa della Sensa) and the modern relationship of the city with national institutions, academic networks/Universities, natural ecosystems, technological innovation and sustainability:

• Renato Brunetta, Minister for the Public Administration of the Italian Government

• Ambassador Umberto Vattani, President of the Venice International University (VIU)

• Piero Rosa Salva, President of VELA SpA and organiser of the Festa della Sensa

• Naomi Van Den Broeck e Charles-Antoine Leboeuf, EMA students representatives

• Manfred Nowak, Secretary General

• Elisabetta Noli, Administrative Director


On May 15 - 16, 2021 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. It will be a unique opportunity to experience the Venice of the past!



By Insidecom Editorial Staff