Festa della Sensa
The Festa della Sensa (or Ascension Day Festival) commemorates a Venetian historical victory that took place on Ascension Day (Sensa in Venetian), May the 9th 1000, and confirmed the Serenissima dominion over the Adriatic sea with the famous annual “Nuptial”, symbol of the city's power.
On that day, Doge Pietro Orseolo II left Venice at the head of a great fleet, to defend the inhabitants of Zara and Dalmatia against the incursions of the Croatians and Narentines.
Before leaving, the Doge boarded the ceremonial galley, the Bucintoro, and set out to sea along the San Nicolò di Lido canal, while the Bishop of Venice gave his blessing to the Adriatic.
Having reached the mouth of the harbour, the Doge then threw a golden ring into the sea to symbolically marry Venice to the sea and confirmed the Serenissima's domination of the gulf, with the famous annual “Nuptial”.
Every year since then, the Doge, today the Mayor of Venice, has repeated this solemn ritual.
The second victory is in 1777, when Sebastiano Zani Doge welcomed
Alessandro III Pope and Federico Barbarossa in Saint Mak's basilic to make a peace
In previous centuries this holiday held an important role in the social and political life of Venice, which resulted in one of the most important and sumptuous celebrations, interweaving the legend, myth and history of the city.
If, historically speaking, the Sensa feast is the result of an overlapping of civil and religious rites and events through the ages, today we prefer to give it the meaning of festivity of the Sea and therefore of a festivity of a city which draws its survival from its relationship with the sea.
Assessorato al Turismo - Promozione e Manifestazioni