Italy. Home to some of the most iconic pieces of art, music, and architecture in the world is also home to another tradition that is beloved by both locals and tourists. The Vogalonga.
The Vogalonga is a boat race that takes place in Venice every year in the springtime and draws thousands of spectators and participants, both professionals and amateurs alike. Boasting an ample distance of 30km (18 miles), the Vogalonga (or long row) takes its participants on a journey through some of the most beautiful canals and iconic scenery in Venice. While most regattas include boats of all types, this particular regatta limits the field to only rowboats and, interestingly enough, this tradition began as a simple protest.
In Venice, 1974, a group of friends came up with an idea to hold a non-competitive rowing event as a means of protest against the decay of the city infrastructure due to wave motion damage from motorboats. The idea picked up support from traditional boating enthusiasts and the first Vogalonga was held in 1975 with 500 boats and approximately 1500 rowers.
Since 1975 the Vogalonga has grown from 500 boats and 1500 participants to 2100 boats and 8350 participants as of 2018 with the majority of participants coming from other parts of the world. You’ll be able to find a variety of boats being used in this event from traditional Italian watercraft like gondolas or sandolos to canoes, kayaks, and dragon boats. This year’s race is going to take place on Sunday, June 9th so if you find yourself in the area, be sure to check it out.
For more information you can visit the Vogalonga website at http://www.vogalonga.com/en/
Author: John Ortiz, Junior Project Manager at ISI Language Solutions