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Venice Historical Regatta: enjoy this traditional rowing event

The Venice Historical Regatta is one of the events that no Venetian will ever miss!

Many people come to Venice during the first weekend of September to enjoy this traditional appointment: don’t miss the opportunity to see a spectacular parade along the Grand Canal, and the rowing competition that follows.

If you are curious to discover the history of this Venetian tradition, here we have collected some curiosities and all the information you need if you wish to attend the Historical Regatta in Venice.

The history of the Historical Regatta in Venice

For Venetians, a boat is transport and a work tool to use during the whole year, but, at the same time, it is the main means of entertainment to enjoy the lagoon.

From the union of these aspects, the idea to organize a boat competition was born – not only to celebrate a specific occasion, but above all to honor the presence in the city of some great characters.

The Historical Regatta is the most important appointment in the annual rowing calendar, and the regatta pennants are the prizes that every Venetian rower dreams of.

As much as other sports, Venetian rowing has its list of winners and its special awards – for example, if a rower wins the gondolini regatta for five consecutive times, he’ll become “King or Queen of the oar“. Ciaci, Crea, Bepi and Strigheta are just some of the great rowers who won this prestigious award.

The funny side of the Historical Regatta: curiosities and facts

There are many curious facts about this regatta, and one of the most curious is the prize for the rower ending the race in fourth position – it’s a piglet! Known for its slow and sluggish nature, this little living animal was replaced in 2002 with a glass version, after a protest.

Another anecdote, which still makes all romantic people smile, narrates that in 1856, the beautiful Princess Sissi visited Venice, and the regatta was organized in her honor. In this occasion, the Emperor Franz Joseph I ordered that St. Mark’s Square be lit by gas, making it clear and bright during all the night.

The 2019 edition of the Venice Historical Regatta

he Historical Regatta will take place on September 1st, 2019, at the same time as the 76th edition of the Venice Film Festival,. As much as the Vogalonga regatta, this unique event calls thousands of rowing enthusiasts along the Grand Canal to commemorate a tradition that dates back to the mid 13th century.

The programme will open with an historical pageant parade along the main canal of the city – there will be dozens of rowing boats, with hundreds of people in medieval costumes.This traditional water procession re-enacts the welcome given in 1489 to Caterina Cornaro, the wife of the King of Cyprus, who abdicated her throne in favour of Venice.

Later, the competitive phase of the event will begin – the regatta is divided into four main categories, according to the type of boats and the age of rowers. 9 crews take part in each race, competing to win a red flag of the first classified.

The itinerary starts from the spagheto, a rope stretched in front of Sant’Elena gardens; afterwards, the competition will continue along the Grand Canal. Each boat will have to turn around the paleto, a pole positioned near the train station, and cross the finishing line in front of the judges and guests seated on the Machina, a floating stage close to Ca ‘Foscari palace.