The Festa della Sensa
The Festa della Sensa is one of the most famous and treasured Venetian festivals. It is celebrated on the first Sunday of June every year, on the occasion of the religious feast of the Ascension, to celebrate the bond between the city and the sea with a marriage ceremony.
Every year the city renews its vows with a solemn feast on the lagoon, with a procession starting on the water in front of Piazza San Marco lead by the Bucintoro, the historical boat of the Serenissima, which carries the Mayor of Venice along with other authorities. Evoking the thousand-year-old tradition of marriage with the sea, they travel across the water until they reach the port of the Venice Lido.
At the time of the ancient Republic of Venice, known as the Serenissima, it was the Doge who would receive the blessing from the Bishop and recite the phrase, Desponsamus te mare in signum veri perpetique domini, “we marry you, O sea, in a sign of true and perpetual dominion”. He would then conclude the ceremony by symbolically throwing a wedding ring into the sea.
On June 2, the water procession has been scheduled to start at 9.00 am from the Bacino San Marco, with the wedding ceremony (Sposalizio) at 10.30 am. In the afternoon, a regatta of traditional lagoon boats will compete in the waters between San Marco and Nicolò of the Venice Lido.