The Historical pageant re-enacts the welcome given in 1489 to Caterina Cornaro, bride of the King of Cyprus, who renounced her throne in favor of Venice.
In 1797, the fall of the Republic, the Regatta did not cease. In that very year the Venetian democratic government induced two competitions, it was called the “Corsa di Barchette”. In ancient times the Regatta were divided into challenges between boatmen or gondoliers and grand regattas (the latter motivated by exceptional religious or secular city celebrations). The expenses of staging them, however, always burdened private individuals; in fact, the management, depending on the case, was entrusted to the private individual or to a magistracy.
The modern Regata was born in 1841, since when the expenses were no longer the responsibility of private individuals but of the public.
In that year the Venice City Hall asked the Austrian authorities to hold an annual “Barchette Race” along the Grand Canal by the City Council to encourage the gondoliers to keep their vaunted dexterity in honor. With the annexation of Venice to the Kingdom of Italy (1866), in contrast to earlier times, the purpose of the regattas was to celebrate the glorious past of the Venetian Republic.
But it is only from 1899, on the occasion of the 3rd International Biennale of Art, that – at the proposal of the Mayor of Venice Filippo Grimani – the regatta will take on the name “historical.”
The “Regata Storica” takes place every year on the first Sunday in September.
It is one of the most spectacular, picturesque and engaging moments of city life, followed especially by Venetians who gather along the banks of the Grand Canal.
It is a parade, more than dozens of typical sixteenth-century, multicolored boats with costumed gondoliers carrying the Doge, Dogaressa and Caterina Cornaro, all the highest offices of the Venetian Magistracy, in a faithful reconstruction of the glorious past of one of the most powerful and influential Maritime Republics in the Mediterranean.
But how does a Regatta take place?
The Regatta is contested between boats gathered in teams: in the ranking of each race, the team’s score will be the sum of the scores of the boats belonging to it. The team with the fewest points wins.
What about the blessing of the gondolinos?
It is the presentation of the crews, the blessing of the bands and boats.
The ceremony is preceded by a water parade on the Grand Canal departing at 5:30 p.m. from Rialto to the Salute Church.
In order to watch the historic regatta, here are some recommendations of the best locations:
Giardini and Riva degli Schiavoni, Punta della Dogana and Basilica della Salute, Rialto Bridge, Santa Lucia Station, S. Marcuola, S. Tomà.
Alternatively, you can watch the Historical Regatta from the comfort of your seat in the specially set up open-air floating grandstand along the Grand Canal between San tomà and Accademia.
Tickets can be purchased at: www.regatastoricavenezia.it
We look forward to seeing you there!