Water is the element that most characterises Venice and it is no coincidence that the most famous and spectacular festivity in the city takes place on the waters of the Grand Canal. The spectacular eventstarts with a magnificent historical procession consisting of splendid,elaborately carved boats complete with hundreds od figures in gorgeous brocadecostumes
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Even now the Regata Storica is one of the most spectacular, picturesque and moving events of Venetian life, capable of both charming the tourists and exciting the locals.
A historical procession commemorates the welcome given to Caterina Cornaro, wife of the King of Cyprus, in 1489 after she renounced her throne in favour of Venice. It is a procession of 16th century style boats, with the famous Bucintoro, the boat representing the Serenissima, at its head.
Then comes the competition. The spectators participate with gusto and shouts of encouragement during the sporting events
The earliest historical evidence of rowing races dates from the second half of the 13th Century. However, it is probable that similar events were already popular: Venice was essentially a seafaring city and ready reserves of expert oarsmen were a prime necessity.
The various competitions
Many different competitions take place within the Regata Storica: the champions regatta in "gondolini", the regatta in "caorline", the women's regatta in "mascarete", the young rowers' regatta in "pupparini".
Many different types of boats take part in the Regata Storica: the "gondolino", the "caorlina", the "mascareta", the "pupparin", and, of course, the gondola, the Venetian boat par excellence
The great rowing champions: the winners of the Historical Regattas of the last fifty years.