Venice Vogalonga

Storia di Venezia
Storia di Venezia,

Historical Regatta

Venetian Boats

Venice History
Venice History
Panoramic of Vogalonga

The Venice Vogalonga (Long Row)

A game and a Protest

The Vogalonga is a 32 kilometres rowing regatta, it begins in the spectacular Bacino of St. Mark, moves towards the islands of the Northern Lagoon, on to the new Venezia and then continue past the Palazzi of the Grand Canal. The Vogalonga is a famous regatta that began in Venice in 1974, and takes place each year on a Sunday in May when, for a few hours, the suffocating traffic of motorized boats ceases, and the water is left alone to the oars.

A Caorlina rowed by women at the Vogalonga

The Vogalonga was born as a protest by those Venetians who wished to show the discomfort caused by motor boats, still one between the greatest problem in safeguarding the structure of the city.
Unfortunately, the international success of the Vogalonga rowing marathon has not brought any alleviation in the water traffic. Indeed, the traffic has dreadfully worsened due to the lack of political disposition between the community administrators at Ca' Farsetti.

The beauty of the lagoon passages, the enthusiasm of the rowers, and the opportunity to see, even for just one day a year, Venice as a river of thousands of boats, has transformed the Vogalonga into a splendid sporting event, but now with virtually none of the features of a protest.

The Vogalonga, like any other great spectacle the city provides, can be taken itself as a practical example of the bad organization and administration of Venice, with the overcrowding by thousands of visitors collected by the Venice events appeal, left without the most essential support services (I.E. : almost no toillettes, nor public fountains, being the ancient ones ratherly dry), binded to use services and to quench itss thirst in bars or restaurants most of whom use to raise the already high prices in the particularly crowded days like that of the Vogalonga. Aside, almost no organization to help the rowers, from all over the world, to be in Venice, once famous for her hospitality as a major European port.

Eight oars Veneta at the Vogalonga
Valesana rowing

Spontaneous sportiveness still makes the Vogalonga possible, as necessary services for rowers and boats are friendly arranged by the Veneta Rowing Societies through the personal engagement of their members.
They help to resolve the difficulties in the unloading, storage and repair of the boats.
Neither is there a centre where visiting oarsmen and women can be greeted, nor emergency services, bathrooms or any of the other necessities required for the visitors and tourists, out of those offered by the voluntary rowing Societies.
. They go out of their way on Saturday and Sunday to help the visiting rowers.

However, the indisputable glamour of the departure and the splendid procession, together with the athmosphere which borns between the rowers in Vogalonga, makes it possible for the rowers to forget most of the many annoyances. Shortly after the start, either alongside the amusing dragoon boat or the elegant Venetian balotina, the rowers find themselves shoulder-to-shoulder, rowing the Vogalonga through the most charming Lagoon in the World.

Sebastiano Giorgi & Umberto Sartori

A wheeled Kaiak at the Vogalonga Various boats at the Vogalonga
Caorlina at the race in Vogalonga Caorlina and Kaiak at the Vogalonga
Canoes at the Vogalonga

Eight oars Gondola at the Vogalonga Floral Caorlina at the Vogalonga
Various crafts at the Vogalonga Dragoon boat at the Vogalonga
Genoan fishing boat at the Vogalonga

All images © by Umberto Sartori