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Vogalonga Regatta: Non-Competitive Racing in Venice

Kayaks on the Grand Canal, Venice

The City of Bridges is known for the many waterways and canals that run through its urban landscape. It’s no wonder that Venice makes for the perfect venue to hold the annual rowing regatta, the Vogalonga Regatta. This non-competitive event brings together both professional and amateur rowers every year to enjoy the spirit of historical boat racing.

The regatta attracts a number of participants who are all rowing enthusiasts at heart. It isn’t uncommon to see the canals flooded in a sea of boats, turning Venice into a place where everyone involved can share their love of this unique sporting event. Thousands of participants and spectators, consisting of locals and people around the world, take part in this friendly race.


Volgalonga Regatta, VeniceVogalonga takes its origins from a group of friends back in 1974 who organized a friendly race in the island of Burano. They envisioned a type of non-competitive race where participants can use any type of rowboat to travel the expanse around Venice. A year later, the first ever Vogalonga took place with a theme of protest against the growing number of motorized powerboats that began to frequent the city’s waters. The original message of the regatta was one that showed displeasure against the negative effects that motorized boats caused to the historical city.

Today, the theme of the regatta has changed to one of respect for the spirit of historical festivities. However, motorized boats respectfully give way to the oars of rowboats and are silent for a few hours during the event.

Rowing Route

All participants begin at St. Mark’s Basin. As the race begins, everyone sings hymns to the patron saint, San Marco. The entire race course consists of 30 kilometers, which has rowers moving towards the islands of the Northern Lagoon and back through Venice down the Cannaregio Canal. Everyone will eventually pass through the Grand Canal then dock at Punta della Dogona in front of San Marco.

Vogalonga 2015

This year’s event will be held on the 25th of May and marks the 41st celebration of the event since it first began. Interested participants can visit the registration office at the Old Fish Market of Rialto, San Polo 342 from May 11 to 21. Two days before the event, officials will be collecting all the required documents to formalize the registration.

The regatta is open to all participants above the age of 16. Those under the age of 16 can still join but must be accompanied by a designated guardian or parent. All types of row boats can be registered for the event. There is no weight limit or maximum number of rowers per boat.

Rowers racing on Grand Canal, Venice

In case of unfavorable weather conditions, similar to what happened back in 2009, a shortened course maybe designated. Water traffic will be strictly enforced during this route to ensure the safety of the participants. Rest assured, everyone will still receive their respective commemorative medals and certificates of participation by the end of the event. The registration fee costs 20 euros per participant.

Buoys will be placed at the entrance of the Rio di Cannaregio as well as the Ponti dei Tre Archi. These buoys are to help direct rowers towards the correct path that they should take to reach the end point.


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By Priscila Siano (266 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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  1. Rivanna Romp
    Posted December 28, 2015 at 9:59 PM | Permalink

    Awesome. This could totally help me in the long run.

  2. jdaent
    Posted January 17, 2018 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

    Perfect I would love a friendly race with some of my friends.

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