Celebration of the Ascension – 01/06-02/06/2019 –

The Festa della Sensa (Celebration of the Ascension) brings back to life the splendour of the past and today, it is one of the most evocative events in Venice.

The Sensa – the word in Venetian dialect for Ascension Day – goes back centuries: it is said to go back to the year 1000 and was established in commemoration of the victory of the Venetian fleet against the Slavs in Dalmatia.

For centuries, each year the Venetians took part in a lavish ceremony in which a procession of boats, led by the Bucentaur, the official state galley of the ruler of the city, the Doge, would row across the lagoon to the port of the Lido. There, in front of the church called San Nicolò, patron saint of sailors, the marriage of the sea was celebrated; this was an evocative ceremony in which the participants invoked the clemency of the sea and a wedding ring would be thrown into the water, as a symbol of the union of Venice with the sea it had once dominated, saying the words, “We wed thee sea, as a symbol of true, ever-lasting dominion”.

 

Today the Sensa is still celebrated in the city with a procession of boats, promoted by the Rowing Association of Voga Veneta, and includes historical boats, and a market that is held at San Nicolò.

 


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