always on a Sunday in late May.
Several hundred boats come together in the morning in the Bacino of San Marco and wait for the starting signal. Regardless of size, length or crew, everything can participate at the Vogalonga as far as it floats on the water and has a rudder. But that's it.
The Vogalonga was introduced in 1975 and is about 30 km: from San Marco to Burano and back through the lagoon to the starting point, the Cannaregio Canal and the Grand Canal.
In Venice historical regattas are a tradition. A historical document, dating back to 1300, proves it. And as often in the history of Venice the background is a rather unfriendly one: A race was organized by the Serenissima to spot and recruit mercenaries for an imminent war.
The purpose of the Vogalonga - or the long race - on the other hand is a peaceful protest against the motorized ships and boats, which are a threat to the city: it is a sort of marathon a la Veneziana and certainly one of the funniest events in Venice.
Since the Vogalonga leads mainly through the lagoon, the typical Venetian rowing boats are particularly well suited. So you see, for example, the small, agile Sandolo, a boat with an extremely flat bottom, which is rowed by one or two parties.
Further the pupparin, nine to ten meters long, as that gondola a boat non symetrical boat whose name derives from the elongated shape of the tail (poppa). Women rather prefer the Mascareta, a typical lagoon boat with light, narrow hull.
And do not forget the Gondolin, a boat specifically designed for racing. It is rowed by two men.
Here you will find a nice gallery with photos of the many traditional boats of the Venetian lagoon. This impressive race will always on a Sunday in late May and requires a lot of strength and special abilities in guiding the rudder. So you can observe many participants on the canals exercising their training months before the race takes place.
On the afternoon of Vogalonga Palio delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare takes place, a big parade on the water in historic costumes and boats.