Vogalonga is one of the most famous regattas of Venice. Participating in this massive event is an original way to explore the city. Vogalonga started as a peaceful event to protest the effect of the motorboats on the city and its surrounding waters. Today, it is a perfect way to discover and honor Venice traditions. It’s also an impressive sight of about 8000 participants and around 2000 boats of all kinds!
History of Vogalonga
The tradition of Vogalonga goes back to 1974. It was when a group of friends decided to take their small mascarete boats and row as a peaceful protest. They wanted to show their concern about the effect of the motorboats on the city of Venice. Later, in 1975, the first official event took place. Same as today, back then, it was a 30-km non-competitive race. Many local organizations and press outlets supported Vogalonga at the time.
The first event had 500 boats, and it has grown yearly since then. People from Venice and all over the globe celebrate it on Pentecost Day. This day is the symbolic marriage day of the Doge and the sea. In 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the event was virtual. For the same reason, in 2021, it was limited to a certain number of boats and rowers.
Route map of Vogalonga
If you’ve always wanted to explore Venice from the water, Vogalonga is a perfect way to do so. You’ll go 30 km along the picturesque and fascinating parts of the city. To better understand the route, check out our Venice map. It all starts at Bacino San Marco or St. Mark’s Basin. From there, participants go through Venice’s marvelous canals and some smaller islands. Then they go along Burano and Mazzorbo islands, through Canale di Cannaregio to reach the famous Canal Grande. They also go through the Rialto area with its iconic Rialto Bridge. The finish line is at one of the best-known Venice churches, Santa Maria della Salute. It is where you can find the Punta della Dogana museum, overlooking the Giudecca Canal.
Logistics of Vogalonga
The logistics of the event are simple and accessible. Anyone 16 years and older can participate with a caregiver’s permission for minors. You can register and pay the entrance fee online. The race starts at 9 AM by lifting the oars to salute the holiday. On the way, people sing hymns to St. Mark. And although Vogalonga is not a competition, everybody gets a medal and a participation certificate in the end. A few months after, there is a raffle with prizes for those who completed the race. The prizes include plaques, trophies, and other tokens donated by event partners.
Staying and exploring Venice
Venice is a city known for its celebrations. You’ve probably heard about Regatta Storica, the Venice Biennale, or other city annual events. During these holidays, it might be tricky to find accommodation. We recommend checking our Venice map and planning your stay beforehand. We’ve covered all Venice neighborhoods, so you can choose the one that fits you best. You can also see our list of the best attractions, churches, museums, and restaurants.