Ah, Venice. The famous canals, the elegant architecture. The romance, the history. The constant drone of motorboats.
Wait, motor-what? What about those famous Venetian flat boats, the ones with the curvy ends and the guy with the striped shirt who sings pretty songs in Italian? Of course those boats exist — they take tourists around every day. But the real transportation of the city is handled by motorboat. For 364 days a year, that is.
Since 1974, for one day each year the city of Venice stages a paean to the love of rowing in the age of motorboats. The Vogalonga Regatta opens a 30-kilometer boat course throughout the city to anyone with a rowboat, and nearly 6,000 participants take to the lagoon and canals in more than 1,500 boats, from traditional flatboat to dragon boat to kayak. The mood at Vogalonga is festive, with lots of songs from the boaters and applause from the crowds.
There is one price to being able to experience the city without the background din of motors. Because motorboats are the main form of public transportation, it’s extremely difficult for non-rowers to get around town on the day of the Vogalonga. For maximum enjoyment, find a place where you can settle in and spend the day.
This year’s Vogalonga will take place on Sunday, May 27.
Image: Venice Explorer