The annual Vogalonga (42nd edition) attracted today over 6,500 participants from around the world in a wide variety of oar-powered boats from sandali, caorline, scioponi, mascarete, gondolini, bissone to kajak, jole and dragon boats. With some taking the race seriously and completing the course in two hours, and others who were simply there for the atmosphere and camaraderie taking much longer, this popular, unconventional, non-competitive regatta regatta is enjoyable for participants and spectators.
Established in 1975 as a protest against the damage caused to the foundations of the city by the moto ondoso, waves from the wake of motorboats, it is the only day of the year when motorised traffic is banned from the Grand Canal and parts of the 30km (19-mile) lagoon circuit across St Mark’s Basin to the island of Burano and back The circuit loops around the islands of Sant’Erasmo, Burano and Murano finishing with a spectacular run down the Grand Canal.
Unlike Carnival, this is a real celebration of vera venezianità (true Venetian-ness) when residents are more important than tourists and the deep connection between the lagoon and city is evident to see. It’s an incredible spectacle, lively, colorful, great music, blaring horns and a lot of tough rowing.