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Sensa Feast: May 29th 2022 in Venice

The Sensa Feast or Ascension (Wedding with the Sea) in Venice: hours, date, history and useful information.

Sensa Feast
Sensa Feast (Francesco Guardi - The Bucintoro in front of Schiavoni going to Lido of Venice)

Event on May 29th 2022

Every year Venice celebrates numerous occasions in which water is the protagonist together with citizenship that meets on the banks of the rii and on the typical boats of Venice. One of these events - perhaps the most significant for the history of Venice - is the Festa de la Sensa (Ascension) which is celebrated every year on the day of the Ascension of the Lord.

On this day Venice renews - with the ritual of marriage with the sea - its link with the water element, thus recalling the centuries-old history that saw it starring on the seas in countless events.

Today the festival sees the participation in an official water procession of the City, led by the mayor (in modern robes of the Doge), a large part of the citizenship that parades aboard boats of different sizes and invoice accompanying the boat of the Mayor to the mouth of port of Lido where the ritual of the Wedding with the Sea takes place. There are also various types of events around the city to commemorate the event.

A project for the reconstruction of the Bucintoro has existed for some time, but both public and private funds are missing because the economic commitment is around 8 million euros.


The Festa della Sensa or Festa dell'Ascensione was an important event in the calendar of the Serenissima for centuries. Always celebrated on the day of the Ascension of Christ - which in the Venetian dialect is pronounced Sensa - the feast commemorates two historical moments in Venice: the first, the city's help to the Dalmatian populations (9 May 1000) threatened by the Slavs; the second, when Pope Alexander III and the emperor Federico Barbarossa signed a peace treaty in Venice that ended a long period of conflict between the Papacy and the Empire (1177). The Pope then gave a ring to the city of Venice, blessing it as the queen of the seas. Since then the ritual was repeated every year as a historical commemoration and celebration of the greatness of Venice.

The Sensa saw the whole city mobilize in a parade of ships of all kinds headed by the famous Bucintoro, the state ship of the Serenissima (burned by Napoleon as a symbol of the past), which was heading towards the port mouth of the Lido for the ritual of marriage with the sea. Here the doge, after having received the blessing of the Bishop at Sant'Elena, pronouncing the ritual formula (Desponsamus te mare in signum true perpetique domini), threw a ring in the waters blessing in this way the secular relationship with the water of the Republic, a power that has always been a thalassocratic mold.

After decades of oblivion in which the party disappeared from the lagoon calendar, starting in 1965 and thanks to the work of a citizens' committee, the Sensa once again acquired its rightful place and today is again an important occasion for Venice. In place of the doge, he is responsible for the mayor of the launch of the ring, surrounded by a procession of boats. The party is also dotted with many complementary initiatives on the ground such as the doge procession in Piazza San Marco, the party at the Forte di Sant'Andrea and the Sensa Market in San Nicolò.

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