The History of the Regatta
The idea of an historical festival which could evoke the shining exploits from the epoch of the Ancient Italian Maritime Republics, was independently thought of by two enthusiasts, Mirro Chiaverini of Pisa and Francesco Amodio of Amalfi, at the end of the 1940's. The official charter for the race was instituted by the Regatta Board of the four Maritime Republics in Amalfi on December 10, 1955. From then on, every year, the festival, which consist of an historical parade and a rowing contest, takes place in turn in one of the four Ancient Maritime Republics.
Pisa, May/Giune 2014
Since 1956 the cities of Amalfi, Genoa, Venice and Pisa have participated in the Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics.
The event, introduced for tourist reasons, evokes the past glory of the most important episodes of the story of the four Maritime Republics.
The first official edition took place in Pisa on the 1st July of that same year. Since then every year the challenge is hosted in turn off the coast of Amalfi and Genoa, along the river Arno in Pisa and in the lagoon of Venice.
In Pisa, along the river Arno, four boats representing the four Republics and marked by different colours, such as blue (Amalfi), white (Genoa), red (Pisa) and green (Venice), compete in the regatta, heritage of the ancient tradition: a two-thousand metre race upstream where they compete for the winner crossing the finishing line first, close to the Church of Saint Matthew. This event mixes a genuine sporting passion and the ancient rivalry dating back to their perpetual struggle for supremacy on the seas. The boats, having fixed seats with eight oarsmen and a steersman, were originally built entirely of wood by the Venetian craftsmen of the Cooperative of Gondoliers of Saint Marc and they were blessed during the launching by the patriarch of Venice of that time Angelo Roncalli (who later became Pope John XXIII). Each boat has a figure-head at the prow: the winged horse represents Amalfi, the winged dragon for Genoa, the eagle for Pisa and the lion for Venice.
In recent times the original hulls have been replaced with new ones made of fibre-glass, which are lighter and faster but which have are almost identical to the wooden ones of the fifties.
The hegemony of the green boat with the crew of Venice has been overwhelming for a long time, but in recent years the other teams of Pisa and Amalfi have acquired such a good level of competivity as to lay a possible trap to the record of Venice.
The Regatta is preceded by a great parade of 320 people (80 for each one of the Republics), which evokes the characteristics, the events and the characters of the history of these four ancient maritime cities, which during the Middle Ages ploughing the seas with their fleets prospered and spread their culture throughout the Mediterranean by means of their military and commercial dominion.
The historical costumes of Amalfi portray the most flourishing period of its commercial trading.