Feast of Ascension 2024

Sunday, 12th May 2024

Among the events of Venetian tradition stands out the Festa della Sensa, which more than any other appointment brings to life the millennial history of the Serenissima, its intimate relationship with the Sea, and with the practice of Venetian rowing.

The history of the Festa della Sensa

The Festa della Sensa (Feast of the Ascension) is celebrated on the occasion of the day of Christ's Ascension (called Sensa in Venetian) and commemorates two important events for the Republic: the first, when on May 9th of the year 1000, Doge Pietro II Orseolo rescued the populations of Dalmatia threatened by the Slavs; the second, when in the year 1177, under Doge Sebastiano Ziani, Pope Alexander III and Emperor Frederick Barbarossa concluded the peace treaty in Venice that ended the centuries-old dispute between the Papacy and the Empire. Initially, the rite was celebratory, religious, and superstitious together, only to ensure the tranquility of the sea, and it involved a simple ceremony, with the Doge's visit to the sea and the blessing of the waters of the Adriatic. Onto this pre-existing rite, the marriage with the sea was then grafted, and since then Venice celebrates its dominion over the sea by throwing a golden ring into the waters in a mystical marriage renewed every year with the words "Desponsamus te mare. In signum veri perpetuique dominii." For the occasion, the Doge wore the golden mantle with the ermine collar, the blue skirt, the red stockings, the horn, and the golden shoes. With a ceremony - which saw a retinue of rowers, escorts, musicians, and boats following - he brought to life the annual marriage with the sea, the greatest celebration of the Republic, a rite that Venice still renews today with the same spirit and sense of belonging as before. The ceremony, according to historical reconstructions, began with a mass in the monastery of Sant'Elena, after which the Bishop of Castello climbed aboard the splendid Bucintoro with a container filled with holy water, a pot of salt, and an olive branch serving as a sprinkler. The blessed water was poured into the sea, and only then did the Serenissimo Doge throw the ring into the waves. The bishop and the doge disembarked at the Lido, where a religious procession formed, heading towards the church of San Nicolò. Today, the Sensa is brought back to the city by the Festa della Sensa Committee, which celebrates the event with a water parade organized for more than 25 years by the Coordination of Venetian Rowing Associations, starting from San Marco and arriving at the Lido, composed of traditional rowing boats, with the "Serenissima" at the head, the boat on which the mayor and other city authorities take place, and from which the suggestive launch of a symbolic ring takes place.



Regate de la Sensa

organized by the Ufficio Regate of the Municipality of Venice:

  • 08:45 Youngsters on two-oar pupparini
  • 09:45 Women on two-oar mascarete
  • 10:30 Men on four-oar gondolas

Festa della Sensa

  • 09:00 Institutional ceremony "Adriatic Twinning of the Festa della Sensa" at the Royal Gardens (private event)
  • 10:00 Start of the Sensa Procession
  • 10:40 Ceremony of the Marriage with the Sea in front of the Church of San Nicolò del Lido
  • 11:00 Performance by the Serenissima Choir in the area in front of the church of San Nicolò
  • 11:15 Holy Mass in the church of San Nicolò del Lido.

*Timings may undergo slight modifications due to ceremonial needs.



Side Events

organized by the Proloco Lido Pellestrina Association

Saturday, May 11, 2024
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM: For Cesco: Fishing event dedicated to the late president Francesco Castelli of the I Vagantivi Association who passed away in December 2023, in collaboration with the I Vagantivi Association and Sampei Club with the support of ACSI Venice and the Civil Protection of the Lido of Venice.
Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 12 at Lido San Nicolò
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM Traditional Sensa Market: Hobbyists, creative minds, non-profit organizations, traders
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM Kindness Stand at Global Campus Human Rights: A national initiative supported by some teachers of the F. Ongaro Comprehensive Institute, with initiatives aimed at sensitizing children and young people to the practice of kindness in everyday life, through exhibitions and workshops to be organized inside the Cloister of San Nicolò.
11:00 AM - 8:00 PM Food Area
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Visits to the Cloister of San Nicolò: Visits to the Cloister at points of fundamental interest and visit to the photographic exhibition organized by the Proloco entitled "Saio, Cannoni, Università: Il Monastero di San Nicolò ed il Tempo" (Sai, Cannons, University: The Monastery of San Nicolò and Time)
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM Historical Reenactments: Two days with The Historical Group of Palmanova and the Musketeers of Candia.
Sunday, May 12, 2024
9:20 AM from Piazzale S.M.E "The Gateway to the Sea" organized by Nordic Walking Venezia Serenissima
5:30 PM Bluemoon "The Pixels Concert" organized by Venezia Spiagge spa
Sonntag, Mai 12, 2024
Mo Di Mi Do Fr Sa So