The Vogalonga is the perfect event to see Venice the way Venetians see Venice from the water. The message of the regatta is an important one and you will be contributing to a good cause. The Venetians love this regatta and are always excited to welcome the world for this important event. Come to Venice for the Vogalonga and you will surely be inspired by the pure beauty of the Venetian lagoon in a way that is truly unforgettable.
The oar, the natural movement of pure human force propelling a boat to move across the water for many is the singular poetic connection of mobility on the water. Whether it’s sea, lake, river or lagoon there is an elegant motion when gliding silently through the water on modes of transportation that is a link to our ancestors. Nowhere is this more present than in Venice for the rowing regatta known as the Vogalonga.
A celebration of tradition, rowing history and cultural preservation of how we used to move across the water. It is also an environmental protest to the ever growing number of motorboats polluting the lagoon of Venice. Although Venice, known for its gondolas and fast taxi boats, has quite possibly the largest culture of traditional rowing in the world. The Vogalonga is an expression of Venice’s traditions in the lagoon.
The Vogalonga is an expression of Venice’s traditions in the lagoon. From the Venetian Sandalo to the Caorlina to Sanpierota, each traditional Venetian rowing boat is steeped in history and beauty. Each boat made by local boat builders in the way they have been for over 300 years, out of wood and with passion.
These boats for Venetians are even more indicative of the true boat for locals than the gondola. As the gondola was perceived as well as used for the elite. The Sandalo, the Caorlina and the Sanpierota, were boats for the worker, the fisherman, families, sailors and used for sport. These were and are still the boats of the people.
During the day long event you will see many different kinds of rowing boats and teams from all over the world. Some are competing while others are at the Vogalonga just to enjoy a beautiful day out in the lagoon.
The event was originally established as a day for a non-competitive rowing regatta, where any type of rowing boat could take part in. The idea was born on the colorful fisherman’s island known as Burano. Professional and amateur rowers from the island of Burano came up with the idea on November 11th 1974.
November 11th 1974
The following year the Vogalonga was created. For these original founders of the Vogalonga, their message was clear, to return Venice back to oar. They like many locals had grown tired of the ever growing presence of motorboats and the damage they create to the city.
The message of the Vogalonga
Due to the swell damage their engines create to the historic city it has also become an increasing problem today in Venice. The message of the Vogalonga can be seen as prophetic as well as ahead of it’s time.
The Vogalonga parties begin on the last Friday of May or the first Friday of June and continue until the Sunday of that respective weekend. Sunday is the actual day of the Vogalonga. The event starts in the morning around 8:00 am from Venice’s famous St.Mark’s square in front of the Doge’s Palace, where the crowd gathers. The participants begin rowing from the Basin of St. Mark’s where the course is over 30 kms through the canals and lagoon of Venice leading through the islands back to St. Mark’s.
The lengthy course starts from St.Marco’s basin. The rowers then need to round the island of Sant’Elena. The teams and boats then come across the island of Certosa where they will paddle through the islands of Vignole, Sant’Erasmo and San Francesco del Deserto. The midpoint of the Vogalonga Regatta is when the rowers reach Burano. They then move past the islands of Mazzorbo, Madonna del Monte and San Giacomo in Paludo. The rowers will then head into the Grand Canal of Murano. Once, they are out of Murano, they head back towards Venice where they will row into Canal of Cannaregio to get to the Grand Canal of Venice and from there the regatta finishes at Punta della Dogana directly opposite San Marco. What a glorious day if you can handle it and quite possibly the best way to see Venice.
There are many ways to participate. You can participate as a team, with locals, by yourself, with your family or even with a huge dragon boat! All rowing boats are accepted, but they must be rowing boats, no motor at all, even if it is an electric engine from Torqeedo. Participants may choose to use kayaks, dragon boats, British style rowing boats, canoes, canyaks and more. If you know a lot about Venetian rowing you may think to rent a traditional Venetian rowing boat from Classic Boats Venice.
The team at Classic Boats Venice is happy to provide forcolas, oars and all equipment. Classic Boats Venice also offers an incredible viewing party form their handcrafted boats equipped with electric engines. You can watch the race and enjoy Venetian snacks prepared by their very own chef. Also, CBV has teamed up with Venice Kayak. Venice Kayak is the first Venetian kayak rental company. They are masters of the lagoon. The crew at Venice Kayak offer Vogalonga rowing opportunities with their guides. If you do not want to bring your own kayak or rowing boat you could easily rent from Venice Kayak or from CBV.
Please contact CBV for more details by visiting their website here: Before you come to Venice for the Vogalonga, you will need to register via the Vogalonga official website. The link for the official Vogalonga website can be found here:http://www.vogalonga.com/en/home-2/
Remember to register. Without a registration number you cannot participate in the regatta. Registration for the Vogalonga begins in early spring.