Every year, on the first Sunday afternoon of September, the Historical Regatta takes place in Venice along the Gran Canal. This is the biggest rowing event on Venice calendar. Thousands of people watch it from the Gran Canals banks, from the palaces windows and balconies and from floating stands.
The Historical Regatta consists in two very different parts: first of all an historical procession and afterwards the competition consisting into four different races, with different typologies of boats. The historical parade is the most famous moment in the regatta event, a long procession of 16th-century style boats, rowed by gondoliers in old costume, performing the old times of the Republic: the entrance in Venice of the queen of Cyprus, Caterina Cornaro, the Doge and his wife the Dogaressa, ambassadors of far away countries, high members of the old Republic, all in period costumes. The historical parade wants to recreate Venice’s maritime strength in a colourful and cheerful atmosphere.
After the procession of boats the competition begins: four different races with different typologies of traditional Venetian wooden boats. They all start in front of Saint Mark’s square and finish in the middle of the Gran Canal in front of Ca’ Foscari.
Regattas have always been very popular events in a city like Venice which founded its past strength on sea-power and which was built on little islands. The earliest official record of regattas dates back to the XIII century, although only in 1899 the first edition of the Regata Storica took place.