LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM–(Marketwire – Sept. 18, 2010) – The first weekend in September sees Venice draped in bright colours for the annual Historical Regatta. The regatta first took place on 10 January 1315 under the rule of Doge Giovanni Soranze. The event was originally held to commemorate the Queen of Cyprus’s first visit to Venice. Caterina Cornaro’s visit signified the beginning of the Serenissima rule over the Mediterranean islands.
The regatta now only holds a predominantly cultural value and the distant memory of Venice’s political and economical greatness. However, the event means significantly more to competitors; being crowned victorious will etch their names into rowing and Venetian folklore.
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The day’s festivities begin with a spectacular historical water pageant that precedes the races. Traditional 16th century-style boats, complete with gondoliers in period costume, float down the Grand Canal carrying the Doge, his wife and the highest ranking Venetian officials. These boats are lavishly decorated and the colours, combined with the bright sunshine, create a spectacular visual feast.
There are four main races that divide competitors up into categories determined by their crafts and age. The most famous of these races is the “Campioni su Gondolini” which sees a number of small, sportier gondolas speed down the Grand Canal, all with the aim of crossing the finishing line at the “machina” first.
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