Festa della Sensa 2018

The Marriage of Venice with the Sea

From 12 May 2018 to 13 May 2018

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The Festa della Sensa is surely one of the most impressive traditional festivals in Venice! On 12 and 13 May witness this original Festa della Sensa 2018 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 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 2018 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.

As per every year, the Festa della Sensa 2018 will end with various Venetian rowing competitions and other traditional events.

Below, the detailed program of Sensa in Venice 2018

Saturday 12 May

  • 5pm – Doge’s Palace
    Gemellaggio Adriatico
    Prize ‘Osella d'oro della Sensa 2018’

Sunday 13 May

  • 9am - Gathering of the boats in St Mark’s basin for La Sensa Venice Regatta 2018
  • 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 – Holy Mass in the church of San Nicolò di Lido
  • 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.

Collateral events

Saturday and Sunday 12 and 13 May, from 10am to 6pm

  • Sensa Traditional Market in front of the church of San Nicolò di Lido
  • 10/11 minute-flight above Venice and the Lido with a helicopter service offered by Heliair helicopter service. Departure from Nicelli airport. Bookings: prolocolidopellestrina@gmail.com

Sunday 13 May

  • 9am – ‘La Porta del mare’ Sensa Nordic walking organised by Nordic Walking Venezia Serenissima and LILT
  • 11am - the Doge’s Court, with 15 characters in costume, including 4 drums for the procession: guests will have the opportunity to take a souvenir-photo and games which involve the public such as the ceremonial rules, the opportunity to meet the Doge, … .
  • From 11am to 5pm - ‘Candia’s Company of Musketeers’: re-enactment of a historical scenario of the 17th century with typical representations
  • 1pm - The Doge’s lunch at the Restaurant Nicelli. Bookings: prolocolidopellestrina@gmail.com.
  • 4pm - Activities and games for children from 6 to 10 years. Bookings: prolocolidopellestrina@gmail.com

On 12 and 13 May 2018, 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 the historic centre of Venice and relive the magical atmosphere of the Venetian Republic!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff