In case you’ve already been to Venice – or if you know the romantic city on the water from films – you have certainly realized that the Venetians have a very particular rowing technique (just think of the gondoliere!): This technique is called voga alla veneta and is stilled practiced by Venetians, after so many centuries, as a hobby or in public competitions called “regata”.
The first historical testimony of the regatta
dates back to the middle of the 13th century and is tightly linked to the Festa delle Marie but some experts think that the origins of this competition lie back in the beginnings of the city’s history as the Republic had to train the Venetians in rowing. The first figurative representation dates back to the 15th century: A group of boats with the writing “regatta” is depicted on the famous map of Venice created by Jacopo dé Barbari.
The term “regatta” probably derives from “aurigare” (racing) and spread from Venice to other European countries in the 16th century.
The Regata Storica
takes place every first Sunday in September and begings with a pompous corteo storico in the Grand Canal followed by the (probably) most important regatta of the year.
You can assist the event from a swimming tribune, called „machina“, built up in front of the Palazzo and University Ca‘ Foscari and gives you the possibility to see the start/finish of the corteo storico and the regatta.
You can buy the tickets for the „machina“ online:
Adolescent: 6-18 anni: 30€
Youth under 6 years for free (accompanied by an adult)
In case you just refuse to pay a lot of money for a seat on the tribune you can assist the event for free from one of the fondamenta: You could either book a table (outside) in one of the cafés/restaurants alongside the Grand Canal or you could just bring your own snack and have a seat on the fondamenta.
But before, you have to decide if you want to see the corteo/regatta once or twice: As the boats depart from the Giardini and then take the Grand Canal to reach the train station, where they turn around to reach the finish line at Ca‘ Foscari, you will see them only once from the Accademia Bridge. Every point between Ca’ Foscari and the train station Santa Lucia will permit you to see the boats twice.
In any case you should be at the fondamenta early enough to catch a place/seat.
The highlight of the regatta
is the regatta of the „gondolini“ with two rudders (normally the last competition of the day). Before you will assist:
- Regatta of the caorline (6 rudders)
- Women regatta on mascarete (2 rudders)
- Regatta of the „Youngest“ on pupparini (2 rudders)
- Regatta of the adolescents on mascarete (2 rudders) – Schie: up to 10 years; Maciarele junior/senior: up to 12/14 years
Aside from the regatta of the „gondolini“ I was really fascinated by the talent of the youngest participants: Children that are only about 6/7 years old manage a rudder nearly double the size of themselves. Amazing!