Vogalonga Boat Race

April 25, 2013 by


Venice, Italy is a city known for it’s canals, boats, and it’s love and appreciation of water. Each spring, they host the Vogalonga Boat Race,¬†which serves to honor tradition and their beautiful sinking city.

The race was created in 1974 by a group of Venetian friends in order to protest the growing use of motorized boats and honor the traditional use of row boats and “Gondolas.”

The 30km course starts at St. Marks Basin and is initiated with hymns sung by the Venetians. It snakes around the Venetian islands, and onward to the Grand Canal.

While paddling along the Grand Canal into the heart of Venice, onlookers sing, cheer, and applaud the rowers onto their final destination, the Punta della Dogana.

Both amateurs and professionals compete in the Vogalonga. Any man-powered watercraft is eligible to participate, and some have even been known to opt for swimming, rather than rowing. Competitive rowers will finish in around 2 hours, while others will finish in around five.

Each participant is awarded a “gift” at the end of the race. All of the prizes are donated, and can include plaques, certificates, rowing oars, homemade breads, or any other various unforgettable item.

Over the years, the race has grown to include 1000+ participants from all over the world. Whether you decide to participate, or simply cheer the racers on from the dry streets of Venice, this is one memorable event you don’t want to miss.

Photo Source: Old Fogey 1942

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