Vogalonga is one of the most beloved Venetian holidays, held every year in the second half of May or even in early June. Both a non-competitive boat race and a manifest against motor-powered boats that pollute the lagoon, Vogalonga gathers in Venice thousands of participants each year.
Vogalonga is practically a race of paddle boats, running around the islands of the lagoon, over a distance of about 30 kilometers. This marathon of non-motorized boats does not have winners, or if you want, winners are all those who participate.
Because the race does not limit the participation of anyone, Vogalonga offers an opportunity for both the locals and people from other parts of Italy, and even for participants from around the world.
In 1974, a group of friends started to organize a small race in the waters of the Venetian lagoon. Among them, perhaps the most fervent promoter of the event was Lauro Bergamo, who was at the time the director of Il Gazzettino newspaper.
The first Vogalonga took place on May 8, 1975, the day of the Festa della Sensa, when the race started in front of the Palazzo Ducale, on a signal given by a cannon-shot. More than 40 years ago, on May 8, 1975, at the first edition of the race, there were about 500 boats and more than 1500 rowers. At the 2014 edition, there were more than 2,100 boats and over 7,500 people.
VOGALONGA 2019, the 45th edition of the race, will be held on Sunday, June 9. In 2019, the race is open to any type of boat, regardless of weight, size or number of rowers.
The start will be around 9.00 am in the Basin of San Marco. The boats will sail through the Giudecca Canal and will pass on their way along the islands of Sant’Elena, Vignole, Sant’Erasmo and San Francesco del Deserto.
At the middle of the route, the participants will pass by the Burano Island and they will return along Mazzorbo, Madonna del Monte and San Giacomo in Paludo. Arriving in Murano, the race will continue on the island’s Grand Canal, and then the participants will head to Venice.
After entering the city via the Cannaregio Canal, the participants will race across the Grand Canal to the finish line marked by the Punta della Dogana.