Each year on the first Sunday in September the most traditional and famous of Venetian events takes place on the waters of the Canal Grande: the Historical Regatta. The first race was held on 10th January 1315 during the reign of the Doge Giovanni Soranzo.
At the time of the Serenissima, the regatta was organised to celebrate military victories or to pay homage to foreign dignitaries. Nowadays, this lavish event consists of two main moments: the procession and the races. The first is a historical procession of typical sixteenth-century boats, headed by the Bucentaur (the boat representing the Serenissima), and commemorates the welcome given in 1489 to Caterina Cornaro, wife of the King of Cyprus, who had renounced the throne in favour of Venice. The Bucentaur is followed by dozens and dozens of colourful boats with gondoliers in historic costume carrying the Doge and his wife, the “Dogaressa”, and the highest officers of the Venetian Magistratura. A faithful reconstruction of Venice’s glorious past.
The races, on the other hand, are proper boat races. The public along the shores or onboard vessels moored along the Canal Grande passionately urge their teams on to win. Key elements of the historic regatta have always been the “spagheto” or “cordin” (the taut wire at the starting line), the “paleta” (a post set in the middle of the Canal Grande around which the boats must turn) and the “machina” (a large richly decorated wooden barge marking the finish and used for the prize ceremonies).
1300 - 1400 - - rev. 0.1.6