Regata Storica, Italy

Desc- When you think of Venice, Italy, most probably you imagine gondolas being rowed at the majestic Grand Canal. The most important boating event in the beautiful Italian city is the Regata Storica, which is made up of four different races. It takes place during the first Sunday of September every year. The festival is a recreation of Venice’s maritime past, with gondolas styled the traditional Venetian way and participants wearing their 16th-century costumes.

The earliest record of regatta dates back to the 13th century. In 1899, the then-mayor of Venice, Count Filippo Grimani, named the event “Regata Storica,” or the Historical Regatta. Races begin with a procession of bissone, a fleet of traditional parade boats. Originally, noblemen armed with bows aboard the bissone and would shoot terracotta at rowdy people from the crowd to clear the canal for racers. Nowadays, they are unarmed and serves only a ceremonial function.

The most popular race in the Regata Storica is the gondolini regatta, where two oarsmen per gondola race from the starting line against dozens of other competitors to the finish line. Spectators cheer the gondoliers, and the juncture where the paleto is placed is where the crowd cheers wildly. The paleto is the turning post standing in the middle of the Grand Canal that marks the finish line.

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