There are plenty of opportunities to eat and drink on the Su and Zo bridges, from bacari to chioschetti. If you're hot you can drink from the water fountains dotted around Venice. Su e Zo Par I Ponti (Up and Down the Bridges) is a type of marathon walk that involves discovering Venice. With a map in your hand with the places to visit marked, you take part in the Su e Zo per i Ponti.
The run is an experience for individuals, families and groups who want to have fun. The main route is 13 km (8 miles) long and crosses 56 bridges, although since 1975 new alternative routes have been created. Up and Down Over the Bridges takes place between March and April, in good weather.
As well as having fun, the real purpose of the race is to raise funds for Venice's kindergartens. Before the start of Su e Zo per i ponti there is a mass at St Mark's Basilica. A ceremony among local dignitaries that includes the raising of the flag and the lighting of a lighthouse. At 1000 the marathon starts at the corner of the Doge's Palace in St Mark's Square. Along the route there are several refreshment points and plenty of food for all palates.
School groups have their own race that starts at the Railway Station. It is 7 km (4.3 miles) long and the young participants cross 30 bridges. Those with more than 100 people are awarded a €200 voucher to be used for educational or sporting purposes.
Traditionally, adults are allowed to drink alcoholic beverages at designated stops. Some participants happily enter bars and bacari without continuing the Su e Zo Par I Ponti. At the end of the race there is a parade of a folk group, the presentation of prizes and the performance of the winning folk group in St. Mark's Square. Various prizes and medals are awarded to all participants.
The Su e Zo per i ponti event is designed to bring attention to issues such as solidarity and fairness. Up and Down the Bridges' marathons are not really competitive; there are no prizes for the fastest runners. Rather, what counts is really participating. One prize category includes a special prize for groups from abroad. Here Venice does not want to forget its tourists! So if your trip is in April, we recommend that you join the Venetian People's Marathon.