Historical Regatta

Historical Regatta

First Sunday in September
Regattas have been a tradition in Italy for more than seven centuries, and this one in Venice is widely known as one of the most beautiful in the world. It marks the return of Caterina Cornaro (1454-1510), the last queen of Cyprus, to Venice. Originally from a noble Venetian family, Caterina's marriage to James II of Lusignan was arranged by leaders in Venice in an effort to claim Cyprus as Venetian territory. It worked, and in 1489 the dethroned Caterina returned to her homeland to a welcome of regattas and celebrations.
For sheer splendor, the Historical Regatta ranks with the Palio of Siena. It begins with a procession of historical boats, all decorated and strewn with flowers, down the Grand Canal, which is itself decked with flags, banners, and tapestries for the occasion. Leading the procession is the "Machina," a vessel of baroque style with oars, elaborate carvings, and golden sculptures, which serves as a grandstand and carries officials and local dignitaries. Then there are various competitions: for young people, for women, and for small gondolas with two oars and crews in 16th-century costume. The races arouse intense enthusiasm among the spectators, and by the end of the regatta, all of the canals are crowded with boatloads of revelers.
CONTACTS:
Veneto Tourism Office
Palazzo Sceriman
Cannaregio, Venezia 30121 Italy
39-41-2792-602; fax: 39-41-2792-697
www.veneto.to/portal/faces/public/guest?portal:com
SOURCES:
FestEur-1961, p. 121
References in periodicals archive ?
The Bucintoro the barge of Venice's ruler, the Doge, sails along the Grand Canal during the historical regatta
Historical boats, manned by Venetians, parade along the Grand Canal during the historical regatta.
Venice's Historical Regatta is just one of many destinations for Britons heading abroad

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