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Regata Storica in Venice: 1st September

The first historical record of the event dates back to the mid. 13th century, when it was part of the “Festa delle Marie” celebrations. However, it is likely that regattas existed long before this, as Venice has always been a seafaring city and training reserves of oarsmen was a prime necessity.
The first visual image of a regatta comes somewhat later, in the View of Venice drawn by Jacopo dé Barbari in around 1500. This map includes a detail of group of boats with the word “regatta” written at the side, From there onwards the regatta became a favorite subject with scene painters wishing to capture the festive spirit of the city.

In 1797, when the Republic officially ceased to exist, the regattas certainly did not, and in that same year, the city’s democratic government announced two races for its citizens. In 1866 when Venice became part of the Kingdom of Italy, the focus of the event changed, and instead of just a race, the regattas became a celebration of the glorious history of the Republic of Venice.
The Venetian regatta has always consisted of various races with different kinds of boat, and today the most popular is the gondolini regatta. St Mark’s Bay and the Grand Canal are packed with boats of every shape and size, filled with loudly cheering and local supporters.

While, the water parade commemorates the welcome given in 1489 to Caterina Cornaro, the wife of the King of Cyprus, who renounced her throne in favor of Venice. Scores of typically 16th century-style boats, with gondoliers in period costume carry the Doge, the Doge’s wife and all the highest ranking Venetian officials up the Grand Canal in a brightly colored parade. An unforgettable sight and a true reconstruction of the glorious past of one of the most powerful and influential Maritime Republics in the Mediterranean.

So the “Regata Storica” is the main event in the annual “Voga alla Veneta” rowing calendar and the regatta pennants are the prize every Venetian rower dreams of: red for a winner, white for second place, green for third and blue for fourth.
As usually the first Sunday of September this flurry of boats pours out along the canals as a tribute to water and the power of its glorious republic. The event is one of the most spectacular, picturesque and moving events of Venetian life.
And if you wish to attend to the regatta from a privilege point of view, you just need to book a seating on the tribune sets up near Campo San Tomà. The floating platform, set in one of the most beautiful and spectacular route along the Grand Canal, allows you to see every regatta passing twice in front of you and of course the historical parade. (Prices: full ticket 50,00€, boys from 6/18 years 25,00€).

Download here the full program of Sunday, September 1st , 2013.

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