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Regatta of the Befane in Venice

On January 6th, the day of the Epiphany, a special regatta takes place in Venice. It is organized by the oldest rowing boat association in the city called Bucintoro. Fifty men take part in this competition, and dress up as Befane.

The Befana is the granny who travels on a broom on January 6th to reach the children and bring them presents, especially sweets and toys. She is an old woman, who wears a handkerchief around her face, has a pointed nose and chin.

Wearing these robes, the rowers look very clumsy, they row on a very short path of the Grand Canal that goes from San Tomà to Rialto.

The first regatta was born in 1978 owing its origins to Nino Bianchetto and Enzo Bianchini, who were members of the Bucintoro rowing association.

During a dinner organized for the Bucintoro members in view of the Christmas holidays, they talked about their rowing skills and decided to compete against each other to prove who was the best, on the 6th of January, the day of the Befana.

During that dinner they wrote the rules of the regatta on a paper napkin, and it was understood that the outfit would have been that of the old woman.

From that year on, the Epiphany in Venice is celebrated with the parade of the Befane, rowing typical Venetian boats, the mascarete, flat-bottom boats.

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