The "Festa della Sensa"
The Feast of Sensa (from the name of Ascension) dates back to the times of the Republic of Venice that recalled the day of Christ’s ascension (Sensa in Venetian dialect).
Two important events were commemorated for the Republic: on May 9 of the year 1000 when the populations of Dalmatia threatened by the Slavs were rescued by the Doge Pietro II Orseolo. The date marked the beginning of the Venetian expansion in the Adriatic.
The second event is connected to the year 1177, when, under the Doge Sebastiano Ziani, the peace treaty was concluded in Venice by Pope Alexander III and the emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who ended the secular diatribe between the Papacy and the Empire.
This feast sanctioned the occasion to renew the rite of the marriage of the sea.
This ceremony celebrated the dominion of the Serenissima on the sea. The Doge, with the following, embarked on the Bucintoro, the vessel of representation, and, reached the mouth of port of San Nicolò, threw in the sea a gold ring.
Today the splendour is inferior to the past, the historical commemoration component has been introduced, but the importance of the Union of Venice with the sea remains, a symbiosis that lasts from its birth. The mayor, with the civil and religious authorities, goes by boat to the entrance of the port of S. Nicolò, where he carries out the ritual launching of the ring.