The present ceremony
After the fall of the Republic, Venice continued its special relationship
with the sea: this explains the Festa della Sensa.
The ceremony is obviously not as magnificent as in previous centuries.
A touch of historic re-evocation has been introduced, but the symbolism
of the mystic marriage to the sea is still evident and is certainly
still valid today.
On Ascension Day, the Mayor of Venice, civic dignitaries and religious
and military representatives leave Saint Mark’s Square and sail
to the Port of S. Nicolò where the ritual ring throwing takes
|The water procession
They row from Saint Mark’s to Lido and the civic authorities
are accompanied by a horde of vessels belonging to the major Venetian
rowing clubs and representing the very birthplace of traditional Venetian
Here tradition merges with the contemporary, although rowing is now
a sport and leisure activity.
The vessels form a wing to the historic cortege with the rowers in
costume re-enacting the past splendour of Venice.
After the ritual throwing of the ring and a laurel wreath in memory
of those lost at sea, the procession disembarks at the Church of San
Nicolò del Lido, where a solemn religious ceremony takes place.
A Sensa market takes place in the church grounds and in the afternoon
a gondola regatta closes a day full of festivities.