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The Sensa Fair

Francesco Guardi, La fiera della Sensa
Ascension Day was a typical example of Venice’s worldliness, thanks partly to its famous fair attracting visitors from all over Europe.

It took place in Saint Mark’s Square and lasted 15 days. It gave merchants an opportunity to display rare merchandise, new fashions, art and produce from all over the world.

The thousands of people flocking to the lagoon city transformed the event into an extension of Carnival, with public and private parties, the re-opening of public theatres and the chance to wear masks.

The new “Construction”

Gabriel Bella, La fabbrica della Sensa del MaccaruzziTo bring order to the market, special wooden structures were built to house the rows of shops.

Definitive rationalisation did not take place until 1777, with the project for an elliptical structure: built in wood without using nails, it was easy to put up and dismantle. It housed 114 shops and was decorated with statues, marble and illuminated by 200 crystal lamps.

It only lasted 20 years as it was to suffer the same fate as the Republic: destruction.

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