What is the Regatta Storica in Venice?

Regatta Storica

This festival takes place on the first Sunday in September along the Great Canal in Venice. The 2021 Festival was decided to be held on September 5! The Regatta Storica festival is one of the most anticipated ones with a high following by tourists and spectators worldwide. The Italian natives themselves are eager to participate in this celebration which they place in high regard amongst similar other festivals. In this historical event different boats and onlookers flock the shores of San Marco Basin and the Canal Grande and watch it with great enthusiasm.

Two separate moments are the main highlights including the historical parade and competitive regattas. The most significant rowing events in Venice are categorized to re-enact the city’s past in a joyous manner. It is an exciting way to get familiar with this city on water and its best known traditions: Venetian rowing. This sport is a discipline practiced in the Venice lagoons and the surrounding areas.  


Venice Regatta Schedule

The Historical parade starts at 4.00 pm with a colorful procession of traditional boats and costumed viewers. These are the special Venetian rowing gondolas. The Courses are St. Mark’s Bay, Grand Canal and Rialto. The rowers return along the Grand Canal up to Ca’ Foscari. At 4.30 pm Maciarele and Schie regatta are two oared regatta on mascarete dedicated for children.

Venice Regatta Schedule

At 4.50 pm the Young rowers’ twin-oared pupparini regatta occurs. This is held at St. Mark’s Bay, Grand Canal, around the paleto in front of Ca’ Farsetti, Ca’ Foscari. 5.10 pm the six-oared caroline regatta is in St. Mark’s Bay, Grand Canal, Rialto, around the paleto in front of San Marcuola, Ca’ Foscari. 5.40 pm Women’s twin-oared mascarete regatta and at 5.40 pm Women’s twin-oared mascarete regatta is held in the previous location. After the passage of the 3- and 4- seater Caroline and Gondolini The International University Rowing Challenge will commence on 8-rower galleons.

Time to Start Venice Regatta Storica:

The program of the Venice Regatta Storica 2021 festival started at 4.00 pm with the Historical parade that is most awaited amongst the tourists. It brings reminders of the ancient Republic of Venice. In the water parade colorful boats and dressed up people represent the upper echelon of the Venice judiciary – the Doge and the Duchess. The highest magistrate officers are also present there. This is a reconstruction of the royal reception given to Catherine Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus. It is on her arrival in Venice in 1489, after her abdication in favor of the Republic. 

Time to Start

The Venice regattas are the most important part of the Venetian rowing season and the winners are lauded by the experts. This is a sport especially played in Venice due to the environment. The vessels can be easily steered here. The stroke allows one to easily monitor the seabed to avoid the numerous shoals and the low sandy coasts. The Historical Parade goes through the Canal Grande to Venice Santa Lucia railway station, then it reverses its course and goes back to Ca’ Foscari. The rowing races follow the historical techniques:

  • Young rowers’ twin-oared pupparini regatta.
  • Six-oared caroline regatta
  • Women’s twin-oared mascarete regatta
  • Twin-oared gondolini regatta

Route taken by Venetian boats

At the category post, the boats make a U-turn along the stretch of the Grand Canal upto Cà Foscari. The main competitions of the Regatta Storica in Venice are usually followed by others with different starting points. Children with the age range of 10 to 14 have the two-oared regattas on mascarete reserved for them. This is also for the International Rowing Challenge of Universities. The end point of the Historical Regatta always remains Cà Foscari near the largest floating stage.

Route taken by Venetian boats

This is the machine of the Regatta Storica where the winners of the rowing competition are awarded. If you want to witness the entire unique event, position yourself in the area between the Rialto Bridge and Ca’ Foscari. Here both the Venetian parade and all other rowing competitions pass by. Position yourself well before time as these seats are the most popular at the event. However this is not the case if you just want to just observe the parade at the Grand Canal and the most important races. Hence, here you can choose any point along the Grand Canal. The Venetians are equally hyped up to participate in these races or observe them from the canal banks or by the beautiful buildings that overlook the route. 

Historical significance of the Regatta

The historic parade here reenacts the water parade that was organized in 1489 to celebrate the return to Venice of Caterina Cornaro. Caterina, a member of one of the most powerful families in Venice was handed over in marriage to the king of Cyprus. She became queen after her husband prematurely died. However, she was forced to abdicate and soon Venice took hold of Cyprus too. The Historic Parade comprises the Bissone , the Bucentaur and the boats of the Venice Society of Venetian Rowing. They parade from St Mark Basin to the Constitution Bridge, better known as Calatrava Bridge. The parade then returns to the arrival point of the regattas which is opposite Ca’ Foscori.

Historical significance of the Regatta

Regatta Tradition

They have now covered the entire length of the Grand Canal at this point. The beginning of the Regatta tradition dates back to the middle of the 13th century but was carry out as entertainment in free time. The public authorities in Venice supported this activity for it prepared crews for sea battles. The first representation of the term regatta dates from the 16th century within a section of the famous Venice Veduta by Jacopo de Barbari. It depicts a competition of a small number of boats with the writing “regatta”. Due to this Vendute painters grew interested in regattas. These were consider a favorite theme when painting about celebration in Venice. Regattas in Venice were held during major events, such as anniversaries, victories or to honor illustrious guests.  They had increasingly sumptuous celebrations to the point that they became a source of pride for Venice. 

Compagnie Della Calza:

In 1631 the regattas were call on by the Compagnie della Calza. These young nobles organized celebrations and events in Venice during the 15th and 16th century. Later on the organization of regattas became the exclusive competence of the Venice Republic until its fall, when they acquired a simply celebrative and symbolic role. Then in 1866 with the annexation to the Kingdom of Italy the regattas celebrated the glorious past of the Venice Republic. Finally it was in 1899 that the Regatta Storica in Venezia eventually acquired its present-day name. This was a suggestion by the count Filippo Grimani, Mayor of Venice. There are over 120 regattas throughout the year occurring mainly between April and September. The rowing events celebrate the bond between Venice and the sea. This is the essence of Venice’s connection with sport, tradition and its sense of identity.  

Suggestions for attending the Regatta Festival

Pay special attention to the Venice public transport. During the Regatta festival the Grand Canal is close to water traffic. Thus, the times and route of the Vaporetto are subject to changes. Make sure you look for these changes so there are no delays or inconveniences. The color of the hulls of the boats is according to their position on the starting line. After drawing the position for the start of the competition scheduled at Venice, Italy, Historical Regatta the crews paint their boats according to the numbers assigned to them.


Due to covid-19 the access to areas along the banks of the Grand Canal will be restricted. This is for maintaining social distancing with the obligation to wear a mask. Due to the ongoing emergency, the program of the festival may be subject to changes. All updates must be view on the web and social channels of the City of Venice. 

You do not need to pay for your spot if you find one near the Rialto bridge early in the day. There is an area on the southeast side of the bridge that is sidewalks along the Grand Canal. You can just sit there at the edge of the water and have an amazing view of everything. There are not a lot of sidewalk areas along the Grand Canal due to the many buildings along the water’s edges. This means you will have to stand in the sun for longer periods of time.

During the Trip:

Make sure to have a small bag with food/drinks, a book to read and a hat. During the trip you can even stay in Padova, circle around the Veneto and Dolomite regions and finally end up in Venice. Watching the decorated long boats and races can be more fun if you chose a specific neighborhood to cheer for instead of being a spectator. All the festivities can make it tough when tourists arrive to get to their hotels on the Regatta day. Since the Grand Canal may be close. So you may have to use the alternate (and very crowded) vaporetto line and traipse across town. Even traveling through the Accademia bridge for about 10 minutes.