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Festa della Sensa

The Festa della Sensa, a marriage with the sea. The Festa della Sensa, a marriage with the sea.

Venice is a city full of traditions. One of the more famous is the Festa della Sensa (Feast of the Ascension) in which the wedding between the Duke, the former Governor of the Venetian Republic, and the Sea is represented in the so called Sposalizio del Mare.

This tradition was born in the 11th century to celebrate the victory of the slaves and the expansion of the Venetian empire into the Adriatic. Later, Pope Alexander III made the celebration a holy one.

During the Sposalizio del Mare (Marriage of the Sea), the Duke of Venice, made his way to the bow of his official boat, el bucintro, and threw a ring into the lagoon symbolising the consummation of the wedding. The ritual was carried out as a way of appeasing the sea and gaining her favour. Today, the role of the Duke is performed by the city’s politicians who directly after the ceremony attend Mass in St Nicolo’s church, a parade of Gondolas and many other festive events.

In 2015, the Festa della Sensa and the marriage to the sea take place on the 17th of May, 2015..

Programme 2015

Saturday May 16th

At 5:30pm – Prize “Osella d’oro della Sensa 2014”
Gemellaggio Adriatico (Adriatic Twinning)
Venezia, Arsenale Nord – Torre di Porta Nuova
(ACTV stop “Bacini” – admission at invitation)

Sunday May 17th: Sensa water Parade

9.00am – Boats gather in the Basin of San Marco
9.30am – Departure of the water parade towards S. Nicolò di Lido
10.30am – Ceremony of the “Wedding with the Sea” in front of the Church of S. Nicolò di Lido
11.00am – Concert by Coro Serenissima in front of the curch San Nicolò di Lido
11.30am – Holy Mass at the church of S. Nicolò di Lido

Sunday May 17th: Regattas of the Sensa

5.00pm – women’s twin-oared mascarete regatta
5.45pm – Regatta on 4 oars gondolas
Regattas of the Rowing Season
organized by the Municipality of Venice

Course of the regattas

Basin of San Marco - Riviera St. Nicolò, where to follow the prize-giving will take place

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