Spectacular and picturesque, every year, the Regata Storica of Venice will be raced on Sunday, the first of September. Ever since the times of the Most Serene Republic, this procession has been held to celebrate military victories and pay tribute to foreign dignitaries.
Today the most suggestive part of the event is certainly the procession that proceeds along Canal Grande, the most important waterway of Venice. Hundreds of boats led by Bucintoro, the admiral ship of the Most Serene Republic, to re-enact the welcome given to Caterina Cornaro, the Queen of Cyprus, in 1489. She had abdicated the throne in favour of Venice. In its wake the bissone, gondolas, gondolini, caorline will follow; and there will also be the disdotona and the dodesona (sporting boats rowed by 18 and 12 rowers respectively). It is a triumphal demonstration of 16th-century boats in a faithful re-enactment of the glorious past of one of the most powerful and influential Maritime Republics of the Mediterranean.
Equally exciting is the competition between the great rowing champions. In fact the Historical Regatta is the main event on the annual calendar of the Voga alla Veneta competitions. It is the only discipline of its kind in the world and for millennia it was practiced in the Venice lagoon. The most famous and exciting is the Regatta of the super champions on gondolini that zip around Canal Grande until reaching the finish line in front of the famous "machina", a theatrical floating stage in front of the Ca' Foscari Palace.