The Historical Regatta
The Historical Regatta is the most spectacular and long-awaited Venetian rowing event, that for centuries involves Venetian citizens’ lives and that is very appreciated by tourists visiting Venice.
The Historical Regatta is composed of two main events: the historical parade and competitive regattas.
The water parade opens the Historical Regatta and it commemorates Caterina Cornaro, the Queen of Cyprus, who came back to Venice in 1489, after the abdication in favor of Venice. The procession usually consists of dozens typical Venetian multicolour rowing boats, with rowers and actors wearing traditional costumes, including the Doge, the Dogaressa and the Caterina Cornaro. The parade starts from San Marco Basin and runs through the Grand Canal to the Bridge of the Constitution (also known as Calatrava Bridge), and then back to Machina, a floating platform built in front of Ca’ Foscari.
The competitive regattas are the second most important event of the Historical Regatta and they are the most prestigious rowing event in Venice. During the event several regattas take place on the lagoon, each with its own characteristics: two “maciarele” races and two oars “pupparini”for the young rowers; the women race on two oars “mascarete”; the regatta of Lake Garda’s “bisse”; the six oars “caorline” regatta; the race of champions on two oars “gondolini”.
The boats used for the race are identified by a number and a particular colour which represented in teh past the various areas of Venice and its lagoon.
The most important moments of the races are:
The Spagheto a tightrope at the start in front of the magnificent St. Elena’s gardens;
The Paleto, a pole in the middle of the Grand Canal in front of St. Lucia Train Station;
The Machina, the floating platform in front of Ca’ Foscari where competitions end.
Rowers of the two oars “gondolini” regatta compete along the canal and the winners become real stars of the city and they stand high consideration in all rowers’ favour. The main goal is to win five times in succession to get the title of “King of the oar”, that was obtained for the last time by Palmiro Fongher and Gianfranco Vianello who won seven editions from 1977 to 1983.
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