Venetian regatta

Venetian regatta

The regatta in Venice is one of three most important events in the city. After Venetian Carnival and Venetian Film Festival, it is the most well-known event among tourist and locals. It consists of a historical parade followed by races in different categories, which attract large numbers of tourists each year.

The regatta in Venice or in Italian Regata Storica is an annual event that consists of a historical boat parade and afterwards boat races. It is organized on the first Sunday in September, which means that the exact date will be different each year. Venetian regatta takes place on the Gran Canal, where locals and tourist cheer for their favorites and observe the parade from both banks of the canal.

The event starts with the historic boat parade, followed by races of different age groups in different categories. The historic parade evokes one of the historical events of the Venetian Republic. In 1489, Caterina Cornaro, the queen of Cyprus, reached Venice with a large entourage, after she had abdicated the throne of Cyprus in favor of Venice.  This is why you can witness vessels operated by participants in costumes of that historic period together with the Doge of Venice (elected leader of the Venetian Republic) as well as the Queen Caterina Cornaro.

For a detailed program of each edition of the Venetian regatta we advise tourists to visit the official web page of this event.

Interesting facts

  • The title The King of Oars is awarded in the category sculling with two rowers to the rower who manages to win five consecutive races. It is no wonder that since 1841 only 7 individuals managed to win this title.
  • Around 1500 AD, Jacopo de Barbari drew a map of Venice together with a group of boats with a sign Regatta. From that time onward, Venetian Regatta became a popular scene for different painters. Due to their work, the word regatta entered the vocabularies of most European languages, standing for a boat race.
  • Once, the parade was preceded by a convoy of bissone boats (Venetian parade boats), which had the purpose of keeping order and clearing the way for the regatta. Noblemen, armed with arks and balls of terracotta (used for hunting small birds in the lagoon), kept the order by targeting the boats that did not respect the rules.
  • No one is sure when the first regatta was organized. Some historians speculate that it might have happened as early as in 10th century AD. What is sure is that Venetian regatta was mentioned for the first time in the 13th century as part of the Feste delle Marie (Venetian Carnival).

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