Corsa dei Vaporetti (the Vaporetti Race) is probably the craziest race in the world, a traditional kart competition held every summer in Spoleto, that sees more and more crews compete in a spectacular descent through the historic center of the beautiful Umbrian town.
The origin of the Vaporetti Race dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. The name was chosen in the memory of the steam engine Vaporiera, which from 1902 to 1909 made the line service on the Spoleto-Norcia route.
After the end of the First World War, inspired by the appearance of the first motorized vehicles, the Spoleto boys started to build their first karts. In the 1930s, the tradition of the vaporetti continued to be maintained, only interrupting itself in the period of the Second World War, but resuming in 1948 on the initiative of the Spoleto University Committee.
After 1950, the rudimentary and artisanal vaporetto began to modernize, so that, as it gradually approached a new technology, it inevitably moved away from tradition. However, the bold spirit of competing in the race remained intact.
The Committee of University, in the ‘90s, was replaced by the Manifestation Committee for Spoleto 2000, which, with the sacrifices and selflessness of its members, kept the the race alive until 2006. Since 2012, this old tradition returned under the spotlights, to the delight of the locals and tourists, young and old, men and women.
CORSA DEI VAPORETTI 2018, the 54th edition, will be held between 15 and 17 of June.
The route, which historically started along Corso Mazzini, was modified for the 48th edition of 2012. Now, Piazza Pianciani serves as a starting point. The length of the race is 1,250 meters.
The crew of the vaporetto is composed of two people: the pusher, who takes care of pushing and braking, and the driver, who leads the descent on the convoluted city route.
The road paved with cobblestones, a rough and very slippery surface, makes it very difficult for the pusher to move the vaporetto with the driver on board.