Each year , on the first Sunday in September the Venetians throng the banks of the Grand Canal to see the Regata Storica. The Historical Regatta is one of the festival in Venice which provides entertainment both for the Venetians and for all those who come from near and far to see this colorful event.
The origin of this annual exhibition may be safely referred back to the middle of the thirteenth century. The first Regatta is recorded in 1315.
Today the event begins with a nod to its origins. First, there is the procession of gilded boats – including the impressive 12-oared gondola that carries the Doge and the Queen of Cyprus. The fanciful flotilla of gondolas that follows features period-costumed aristocrats, regal ladies, and rowers dressed in the lush liveries of noble families. An unforgettable sight and a true reconstruction of the glorious past of one of the most powerful and influential Maritime Republics in the Mediterranean.
Ultimately, there are four racing competitions divided in terms of age and type of craft: pupparini (for youngsters), mascarete (rowed by women) and caorline. The best known and most exciting of these is the “Campioni su Gondolini” race, where a series of small, sporting gondolas fly down the Grand Canal to the finishing line at the famous “machina”, the spectacular floating stage located in front of the Ca’Foscari palace.