Four men stood on Lido island at the waterfront looking at the lagoon. The Doge’s Palace rose majestically on the other side in the heart of the city. The goal was clear: Who would reach the Doge’s Palace, or more precisely the Ponte della Paglia*, first would win the swimming tournament.

Ready, steady, go! The four men threw themselves in the cold waters of the lagoon and swam to the city centre, leaving the Lido and its beaches behind them. But three of the four men were very soon outdistanced by one swimmer, a lord.

The bet

Angelo Mengaldo, the British consul Richard Belgrave Hoppner, Alexander Scott and Lord Byron had entered the waters on the 15th June 1818 to assert who would be the better swimmer.

Lord Byron was the only one who reached the goal. The others gave up halfway through. But Angelo Mengaldo just couldn’t accept the defeat: He asked Lord Byron for a rematch, but this time the goal was the Rialto Bridge.

The rematch

On the 18th June (others think on the 25th ) Lord Byron, Mengaldi and Scott entered again the waters at Lido island, but this time again Lord Byron won the bet: He didn’t stop at the Rialto Bridge though, he continued to Santa Chiara (where you find the trainstation today), turned back, passed the Rialto Bridge another time and left the Grand Canal right at the Palazzo he had rented out (Ca‘ Mocenigo) after 3 hours 45 minutes.

The Byron Cup

This bet and his glorious winner inspired in 1905, when the first swimming school in Venice was founded, the Lord Byron Cup: This swimming tournament starting from Lido island and finishing at the trainstation Santa Lucia was held till the 1950s when it was cancelled for good because of the poor water quality.

*The bridge set between the Doge’s Palace and the prisons building and mostly used by visitors who take a picture of Bridge of Sighs.

  •   Beatrice was just wonderful! She made this tour fun for both adults and kids - and we learned so much! Definitely to be recommended!!

    thumb Tonja
    February 19, 2024
  •   Wer in Venedig einen Blick abseits des Tourismus bzw. den großen Plätzen werfen will, denen kann ich die Tour mit Beatrice wirklich ans Herz legen. Gerade vielleicht am Anfang... read more

    thumb Chalin
    February 10, 2024
  •   Wir hatten sehr kurzfristig und spontan eine Tour mit Beatrice buchen können und waren sehr happy über diesen “Glücksgriff”! Sie hat uns wirklich tolle Ecken gezeigt, sehr viel Interessantes erzählt... read more

    thumb Monique
    August 28, 2023
  •   Vielen Dank für den wunderbaren Nachmittag-wunderbare versteckte Ecken in San Marco gesehen und reichlich Tipps für die nächsten Male bekommen wie Museen,Bars usw.

    thumb Jens
    November 8, 2022
  •   We had a total blast at Beatrices tour. She showed us a lot of hidden corners in Venice and we moved off the beaten track. She was super knowledgable, provided... read more

    thumb Tabea
    October 30, 2022
  •   Beatrice hat uns Venedig auf wundervolle Weise ein Stück näher gebracht. Auch mein Sohn war sehr interessiert dabei. Absolut empfehlenswert!!

    thumb Helena
    October 24, 2022
  •   sehr empfehlenswert !!!

    thumb Joachim
    October 24, 2022
  •   Toll!

    thumb Rebecca
    June 13, 2022
  •   Ich kann Beatrice herzlich empfehlen. Sie liebt Venedig, hat viel Wissen darüber und kann es bestens vermitteln, darüber hinaus in Ecken ohne Touristen.

    thumb Ivana
    June 8, 2022
  •   Es war eine sehr schöne Tour und Beatrix konnte wirklich auf jede Frage eine Antwort geben.

    thumb Annette
    May 28, 2022
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