Historical Regatta 2010

05 September 2010

It is one of those moments that people await for the whole year, a moment of public participation from the people of Venice in the name of history, identity and beauty of the city. On the day of this celebration, one finds it difficult to distinguish the inhabitants from the tourists, as both flock to the canal sides to admire the colourful boats as they compete on the waters of the Grand Canal: eyes are wide open and hearts pound in the incitements that are yelled to support the rowers in their efforts towards the finish line. The competition, which is held on the first Sunday in September each year, has distant origins and might be dating back to the 14th century: it was probably started as a training exercise for those who would work on the trading and naval ships of the Serenissima. The historical procession which opens the event offers a magnificent spectacle with the typical bucintor followed by the bissone, these being boats decorated with expensive pieces of material locally known as bissi, which were traditionally purchased by the people of Venice in the Far East to be later sold across Europe. This arrangement is to commemorate the welcome given in 1489 to Caterina Corsaro, wife of the King of Cyprus, when she renounced the throne for the sake of Venice. After that the competition starts with many different types of boats: the regatta in papalini, two-oar boats driven by 14 to 18 year olds, the women's regatta in two-oar mascarete, the regatta in caorline, the typical Venice boats with six oars, and the regatta in two-oar gondolette with the rowing champions battling it out in the fiercest part of the competition.
By Insidecom Editorial Staff