The Vogalonga is a spectacular race in the canals of Venice that are colored by the thousands of boats participating in the non-competitive event born in 1974.
It was then that a group of friends driven by an intent that today we could classify green, because he wanted to raise awareness about the degradation of the lagoon and protest against the rampant motorization, had the idea of sailing around Venice rowing.
Even today, after almost fifty years, the event gathers great participation and success at the premises and is an event that attracts many tourists who reach Venice on this occasion.
History and origins of Vogalonga
An event, then, born between the city channels, an act of love and care that a group of friends wanted to dedicate to their city, Venice.
Already in 1974, in fact, motor boats were taking over because they were faster than a rowing boat and because they gave everyone the opportunity to move by water, not only to rowers.
Thanks to the participation of some prominent personalities of the time such as Lauro Bergamo, director of Il Gazzettino and Giuseppe and Toni Rosa Salva, fans of regattas and defenders of Venetian traditions, Vogalonga had a great echo and gained great participation.
The Vogalonga of Venice today
The Vogalonga is a non-competitive rowing regatta, open to the participation of professional and non-professional rowers.
The route, about 30 kilometers long, starts from the San Marco Basin and crosses Sant’Elena, the islands of Vignole, Sant’Erasmo, San Francesco del Deserto, Burano, the islands of Mazzorbo, Madonna del Monte and San Giacomo in Paludo, Murano to reach Venice via the Cannaregio canal and finish at Punta della Dogana, in front of San Marco.
There is neither a prize nor a winner but all the participants receive a diploma and a medal even if, for some years, the Lino Toffolo award has been introduced that is awarded to the most extravagant, fun, ingenious and original boat.
The jury, among other things, includes one of the best friends of the actor and director Toffolo, who died in 2016, namely Renato Pozzetto.
The award was strongly wanted by the organizing committee of the event and the family of the artist originally from Murano, with the intent to remember his irony and sympathy, as well as the love for his city and tradition.
The first edition of Vogalonga
The idea of the event was born in 1974 and the first Vogalonga took place the following year, May 8, 1975: a day chosen not by chance because it is the day of the Sensa, that is the Assumption, which celebrates the wedding of Venice with water.
The first edition saw the participation of about 1500 rowers and 500 boats: to date, the number of boats is around 1500/2000 and rowers who before came exclusively (or almost) from the Veneto region or the nearby Piedmont, Today they participate from all over the world.
Vogalonga: how the green race has changed
Born as an event between a group of friends, with the aim of involving the Venetian population, to date the Vogalonga is a world-famous event that involves, every year, thousands of rowers from all over the world and attracts many tourists who want to attend the event.
An event, therefore, that has gone far beyond its original intent, becoming pushed for the economic growth of all the small artisan realities of the place, starting from the workshops that manufacture gondolas and oars.
The Vogalonga is an event supported by the City of Venice, under the patronage of CONI and the Federations Rowing, Kayaking and Canoeing and that, again this year, has donated 80% of the revenues of the registrations to the world of rowing and the remaining 20% to finance a university research on the containment of wave motion.
To participate you need to be over 16 years old or, if not, be accompanied by a parent.
If you want to take part in the next edition of Vogalonga, do not miss the updates on the official website of vogalonga, the only channel through which you can subscribe.