Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics  and Ascension Day 31st May – 2nd June

For more than a thousand years, Venice has been celebrating the Fèsta de la Sènsa (which means “Ascension Day” in Venetian dialect), one of the oldest historical re-enactments, which relives the intimate relationship between the city and the Sea and the practice of the Venetian rowing. On the day of the Sensa, Sunday 2nd June, the Marriage of the sea is celebrated, in memory of the conquest of the Dalmatia by the Venetian ships headed by the doge Pietro Orseolo II in 999. Every year the Doge, on the state boat called the Bucintoro, blessed the sea by throwing a gold ring into the water.

This year the Fèsta de la Sènsa will be even more special because on the same days there will also be the 64th edition of the Ancient Maritime Republics Regatta, established in 1955 with the aim of recalling the exploits and rivalries of the most famous Italian Maritime Republics, namely Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa and Venice. The regatta consists of a two kilometers long route competition between boats in which four rowing teams, representing each one of the Republics, challenge each other. The program includes three days of celebrations, which will culminate, on Saturday 1st June, with the ceremony of the Adriatic Twinning of the Fèsta de la Sènsa with the cities of the Maritime Republics and the Galleons Regatta and, on Sunday 2nd June, with the Sensa’s water parade and the ceremony of Marriage of Venice with the sea.

On Sunday 2nd June, if you are in St Mark’s square, don’t miss a unique show and look up at the Clock Tower: only twice a year, on the day of the Sensa and of the Epiphany, at the stroke of every hour the wooden figures of an Angel with a trumpet and of the three Wise Men come out of the lodge of the second floor and parade in procession in front of the statue of the Madonna.

Did you know? La Fenice Opera House was inaugureted on Ascension day, on 16th of May 1792. In the nineteenth century, the theatre staged the world premieres of numerous operas of Gioachino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti and Giuseppe Verdi. If you are visiting Venice, La Fenice Opera House is definitely a must see for making your stay in Venice unique!