The Feast of the Sensa reminds us of 2 important events: doge Pietro II Orseolo who helped the Dalmatian population against the Slovenian people on May 9th 1000 and the peace treaty signed on 1177 between Doge Sebastiano Ziani, Pope Alessandro III and Emperor Federico Barbarossa who puts an end to the fight between the Papacy and the Empire. They both celebrate the Serenissima supremacy which has its roots on the knowledge and the control of the sea.
As a symbolic rite every year during that very day there was “the marriage of the sea”. The Doge on the Bucintoro boat received the bishop’s blessing who boarded near San Pietro in Castello. When Bocca di Porto di Lido was reached he threw a gold ring into the sea by repeating the following sentence «Desponsamus te, mare. In signum veri perpetuique dominii..» (we get married to you, mare (sea), in the name of a true and eternal domination).
Consequently the Feast of the Sensa attracts millions of visitors every year when in May Venetian people celebrate their intimate relationship with the sea with a boat race (Voga Veneta) in memory of the battles they won but above all they remind to themselves the importance of their “marriage with the sea”.
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