Barge Cruises in Venice & Po Valley - Barging in Italy
The Vogalonga Regatta started in 1975, as a small gathering of Venetian rowers expressing their love for their lagoon and as a peaceful protest against the influx of motorized boats. Motor boats have a devastating effect of eroding the banks of the lagoon and canals, and eats away at the beautiful, historical buildings. The idea of the regatta is a get-together of people-powered boats having a friendly race through the Venetian lagoon.
The track has remained virtually unchanged over the years. It covers about 30km by way of canals and makes its way through the most beloved and picturesque parts of the lagoon. Participants have up to 6 hours to complete this event. The boats gather in St Mark’s Basin, in front of the Ducal Palace on the morning of the race to sing hymns to St. Mark and Venice, after which, they’re off! The route bypasses the island of Saint Helena, skirts the islands of Vignole, Sant'Erasmo and San Francesco del Deserto. The half-way point is Burano and the return path passes the islands of Mazzorbo, Madonna del Monte and San Giacomo in Paludo, the procession then crosses through the Murano Grand Canal and is then back in the lagoon. Once in Venice, the boats row along the Cannaregio canal and the Grand Canal, arriving at the finish line at Punta della Dogana in front of San Marco.
Upon completion of the regatta, each participant receives a commemorative medal, a certificate, and souvenirs of the event. Prizes are also awarded, including numerous pairs of oars, oar locks, trophy cups and plaques. What started off as a small gathering of around 500 local boats from Venice and neighboring cities, is now an international gathering of over 1500 boats from around the world.
The beauty of the lagoon passages, the enthusiasm of the rowers, and the opportunity to see, even for just one day a year, Venice as a river of thousands of boats, has transformed the Vogalonga into a splendid sporting event.
LA BELLA VITA is a 20-passenger vessel that was recently refitted in 2010-11 to high standards to offer comfortable, fully air-conditioned accommodation. There are two upper-deck suites and eight cabin staterooms, all with private ensuite bathrooms, and a bright spacious dining room/bar area. Louvred doors open to the side decks to give a perfect viewing platform, whilst above is a huge sun deck with comfortable sun loungers.
Cruises aboard La Bella Vita includes comfortable, air conditioned accommodation in en suite cabins which can be configured as twins or doubles, gourmet meals, open bar, fine wines, daily escorted excursions, entrance fees, local transfers and the use of barge facilities such as bicycles to explore the towpaths and a large sundeck to laze on.
The Vogalonga Regatta Cruise is a 7-night, rather than their standard 6-night charter, May 18-25, 2013.
- Saturday, Day 1 - Venice: Guests are met at 6pm at the designated meeting point and transferred to La Bella Vita moored near St Mark's Square in Venice. There's a Captain's welcome and introduction to the crew and your fellow passengers. After dinner, visit St Mark's Square to take in the fabulous architecture, people watching, and listening to the live performers.
- Sunday, Day 2 - San Giorgio Island: On Sunday, watch the Vogalonga Regatta from the barge moored in Riva San Biagio. Enjoy lunch on the sundeck as you watch the 1500 boats row past. Dinner on board.
CLICK HERE to read the full weeks' itinerary.
View La Bella Vita's online brochure
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