Monday, September 3, 2007

Venice: The Races

Venice is, probably, the only place in Italy where there isn't any bike racing, or cycling for that matter. The Venetians have of course created there own parallel universe and Sunday we were on hand for the famous "Regatta Storica". Venice's most traditional celebration, it first started in 1315 to celebrate the power of the Serenissima Repubblica.

The Regata Storica is the the annual trial of strength and skill for the city's gondoliers and other expert rowers. It begins with a procession of decorated historic craft along the Grand Canal course, their crews all decked out in period dress. The procession is followed by four races:

1- regata of the "giovanissimi" in su "pupparini" with two oars

2- the women's regata in "mascarete" with two oars

3- regata delle caorline in "caorline" with six oars

4- regata of the champions in "gondolini" with 2 rows (the most popular race as the gondolini, small gondola type boats, are the Formula 1 of water).

Watching the races from a gondola, with wonderful music filling the Grand Canal, was an incredible experience. Highly recommended!

Photos: 2 from the procession; 2 from the 6 oar caorline race (notice how the oars bend; you can see the bow of our gondola and how cloose we were); the gondolini racers were three abreast about 100 meters from the finish line, CASTELLO won.

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