Venice Regata Storica
Historical Regata - September 4th 2016
The Historical Regatta
The most important event on the rowing calendar in Venice, Regata Storica takes place on the first Sunday of September, annually. September 4th in 2016
It is made up of four different races, with various types of boats.
The race begins with the procession of Bissone,
a fleet of traditional parade boats. Originally, the bissone began the event
for crowd-control purposes: noblemen armed with bows aboard the boats
would shoot terracotta balote (shot) at any rowdy parade-goers,
and clear the canal for the racers.
Athough the bissone still signal the beginning of the regatta today,
they are unarmed and serve only a ceremonial function.
Due to Venice geographical makeup, it is easy to see why Venetians
have a penchant for rowing.
While the earliest record of the regatta dates back to the 13th century,
it wasn not until 1899, when Count Filippo Grimani, the Mayor of Venice
at the time, gave the event the title of Regata Storica, the Historical Regatta.
The event begins with a parade of boats decorated in 16th-century
style and powered by crews in period costume. At its head towers
the Bucintoro, historically a galley for the doge (duke)
and now an emblem of the city.
Aiming, perhaps, to liven things up in a state known as La Serenissima
(the Most Serene Republic of Venice),
locals first organised a rowing race in 1274. Out of the Regata Storica
four races in different categories,
the main event is the men?s caorline (broad, snub-nosed lagoon vessels) contest.
The men need all their muscles to make these seaborne beasts surge ahead.
The races start in the Castello area and proceed west up the canal to the
former convent of Santa Chiara, where the boats
turn around a paleto (pylon) to pound back to the finishing line at
Ca? Foscari, cheered on by the locals.