The Bucentaur and the Festa della Sensa in VeniceLocal Traditions
The Bucentaur and the Festa della Sensa in Venice
The Sensa Festival (Ascension Festival on the 40th day after Easter) was a very important celebration for the Venice Republic.
During the celebration, a particular ceremony would take place, called the ‘Marriage of the Sea', which symbolized the maritime supremacy of Venice. The ceremony started around 1000 AD to commemorate the conquering of Dalmatia by the Doge Pietro II Orseolo. A solemn procession of boats would take place, headed by the doge's galley, which navigated out of the lagoon through the inlet at Lido. Upon arriving opposite the Church of St Nicolò, the doge would drop a consecrated ring into the sea and with the words ‘We wed thee, sea, in the sign of true and everlasting dominion' declared Venice and the sea to be indissolubly united.
The ship used by the Doge during the Marriage of the Sea was the Bucentaur, a luxurious galley that was kept in the Venice Arsenal during the remainder of the year. The last and most magnificent of the bucentaurs was commissioned by the Senate in 1719 but was later destroyed in 1798 by the French occupiers as a gesture of scorn towards the declined Venice Republic and to recover the abundant gold decorations. The hull was converted into a gunboat and later into a prison ship.
To gain an idea of how splendid the last Bucentaur would look, visit the Arsenal Museum where a scaled model of the vessel is displayed, and the Correr Museum, where the few elements of the sumptuous gilded decorations that survived the flames are kept. The name Bucentaur derives from the Venetian buzino d'oro, a term for a type of vessel called burcio and covered in gold.
Venice: Prospero Alpini and the discovery of coffee in Europe
Everyone knows about coffee, the energizing and hearty drink consumed by millions of people every day! We Italians are great coffee dri...View
Venice: The bridge of Fists in the Dorsoduro district
The Bridge of Fists, located in the Dorsoduro district, owes its name to an ancient tradition of Venice: the War of Fists. The inhabita...View
Venice: The red stone of the 'Sotoportego de la peste'
Mysteries & Legends
Walking around Venice along the narrow streets and across the squares, you could happen to notice strange slabs on the pavement... whic...View
Treviso: Mr. Carnevale’s confetti factory in Paese
We all know what confetti is! It is little pieces of colored paper that are thrown into the air during the course of carnival celebrati...View
Padua: The biodiversity garden in the Padua Botanical Garden
Unknown places & works
Founded in 1545, the Botanical Garden of Padua is the oldest botanical garden in the world to be still in its original location; it cov...View
Venice: The relief of the man with the pipe at Palazzo Loredan on the Grand Canal
Mysteries & Legends
One of the oldest buildings on the banks of the Grand Canal is Palazzo Loredan, built in the 13th century and currently seat of the Tow...View
Verona: The equestrian monument at Cangrande della Scala in Verona
One of the most famous people in the history of Verona is surely Cangrande della Scala, Lord of Verona from 1308 to 1329, the year of h...View