The Regata of the Witches in Venice

06 January 2012

The traditional Regata delle Befane (Regatta of the Witches) will once again be celebrated in Venice. This is a long standing and entertaining event that has been taking place for more than 30 years since 1978, when two friends decided to challenge one another on a boat race using the single oar mascareta, a traditional Venice boat.On a short route, with the start in St Tom and the arrival at the Rialto Bridge, five friends from the Bucintoro Rowing club, over 55 years of age and donning a witch outfit, compete against each other. The rowers, wearing long skirts, shawls and wigs, are accompanied by several rowing boats and supported by aficionados and tourists who watch the race from the shores of the Canal Grande.The arrival underneath the most mesmerizing bridge of the city, from where a huge stocking dangles down, is celebrated with cakes and mulled wine with the accompaniment of time-honoured Venice anthems. The prize for the winning boat is not money but instead a flag, symbolizing the victory of the first regatta of the year.Those wishing to watch this traditional event will meet in St Tom at 11am for the start of the race.From 8am until 9am it will instead be possible to watch the preparations of the race, when the witches get ready and the boats are drawn at the Salt Depots. The concert of Venice music will start at 10am at the Riva del Vin.For those in Venice on the day of the Epiphany this is an event that should not be missed. The joy and enthusiasm shown by both young and old during this day of celebration are proof of the Venetian spirit that makes this city unique in the world.The event is organized by the longest running rowing club in Venice, the Bucintoro Royal Rowing Club (1882) and sponsored by the Veneto Region, the Province of Venice and the Venice Municipality.
By Insidecom Editorial Staff