|The Return of the Bucentaur to the Molo on Ascension Day, 1730 by Canaletto|
Last year the Festa della Sensa fell on the same day as the America's Cup, and I would like to take a moment to remember the Olympic gold medalist, Oliver Simpson, who died at the age of 36 on Thursday, May 9, 2013 after being trapped under the Artemis Racing catamaran when it capsized in San Francisco Bay during a routine training exercise for this year's America's Cup. May he rest in peace. Last year I wrote a detailed post about the holiday:
Here is a long excerpt:
|Festa della Sensa|
Festa della Sensa -- even without the America's Cup in town -- traditionally commemorates two different, important events in Venetian history. The first took place on May 9, 1000 when Doge Pietro Orseolo II rescued the Dalmatians from the Slavs.
The second event took place in 1177. Back in those days, the players involved were:
1. The Holy Roman Empire with the German Frederick I Barbarossa (aka Red Beard aka Kaiser Rotbart) as the Emperor.
a) Anti-pope Callixtus III, backed by Red Beard
2. The Republic of Venice, with Sebastiano Ziani as the Doge.
3. Pope Alexander III, backed by the Lombard League
|Federico Zuccaro - Barbarossa Pays Homage to Alexander III|
Just WHO was God's vicar on Earth? The Pope or the Emperor? That was the question. It is not easy to get an Emperor and a Pope together in the same town, but Venice managed to do just that. Pope Alexander III came to Venice. Red Beard got as far as Chioggia, but was not allowed to land in Venice herself "until he had set aside his leonine ferocity and put on the gentleness of the lamb." Barbarossa became lamb-like, and was allowed into Piazza San Marco, where he found Pope Alexander III surrounded by the Doge, the Patriarch, a host of cardinals and other luminaries. The Emperor prostrated himself in front of the Pope, and received the kiss of peace.
So, the Treaty, or Peace, of Venice in 1177 is also celebrated during the Festa della Sensa. From Old & Sold:
The astute Venetians extorted valuable privileges both from the Pope and from the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa as their reward for the part which they had played in the historic reconciliation.
During his stay in Venice Alexander III was present at the famous ceremony which was later known as the wedding of the Adriatic, a rite which had been inaugurated by the great Doge Pietro Orseolo II, the conqueror of Dalmatia. As a token of Papal approval of the ceremony the Pope handed the Doge Sebastiano Ziani a consecrated ring with the words: "Receive this as a pledge of the sovereignty which you and your successors shall have in perpetuity over the sea."
For over 600 years this magnificent ceremony was enacted annually. The Doge, surrounded by the Patriarch of Venice, the great officers of State, and the foreign ambassadors, embarked on the large gilded barge, the Bucintoro, and sailed through the Porto di Lido to the open Adriatic. Here the Patriarch blessed the ring and gave it to the Doge, who threw it into the sea, pronouncing the time-honoured formula: "Sea, we wed thee in token of our true and perpetual dominion over thee." The ceremony only came to an end with the extinction of the Republic in 1797.
|Festa della Sensa by Canaletto|
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Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog