Regatta of the Historical Marine Republics: on Sunday 19 in Genoa, the 65th edition will be held

17 December 2021

Venice, 16th December 2021 – Celebrating the rivalry and the feats between the Italian Marine Republics, Venice, Amalfi, Genoa, and Pisa. This is the aim of the Regatta of the Historical Marine Republics, sporting event inspired by the historical re-enactment of 1955. This year it will take place during the 1600th year of the Serenissima. On Sunday 19, in Genoa, the 65th Historical Regatta, involving the four Italian Marine Republics challenging by the strength of oars.

In the first three editions, in Pisa, on the waters of the Arno, Venice was the winner aboard ancient galleries.  The first sporting event took place in 1956 in Pisa, ten years ago, at least. When the Pisan horse rider came up with the idea of organising a sporting event in the cities dominating the sea. The offer was firstly examined by Carlo Vallini, president of the Provincial Tourist Board in Pisa. Then, after approving it, he involved all the municipalities of the other cities so that the event would be accepted enthusiastically. The initiative was embraced positively, especially by the lawyer Francesco Amodio and, in that moment, mayor of Amalfi. He organised a meeting with the representatives from the four cities involved. The meeting took place at the palace of Pisa the 9th April 1949, but the agreement was not easy: during the discussion, the head of the municipal office of Venice, the Dr. Manzini was against the participation of the lagoon city in the competition, even though agreeing with the historical parade. The lawyer Amodio tried to make him change his idea, by highlighting the historical and tourist importance of the event. By seeing the strong agreement showed by Amalfi, Pisa, and Genoa, the representatives of Venice took notice of that and joined the cultural initiative, as well.

After obtaining the agreement, the statute and the guidelines were established. All the essential elements have been researched in order to realise the costumes for the historical parade among the historical archives and works of art; the projects concerning the boats were drawn and money was collected to organise the Palio.

The 29th June 1955, in Genoa, an experimental test was realised by involving the “gozzi” (fishing boat) with four rowers. The 10th December, the certificate of incorporation was signed in Amalfi, in the Salone Morelli (current Museo Storico di Palazzo San Benedetto), seat of the Municipality, so as to set off the creation of the Organisational Body of the regatta.

The boats were built by the Cooperativa Goldolieri di Venezia (Gondoliers’ Cooperative of Venice). They were launched the 9th June 1956 on the bank of the Royal Gardens, by the blessing of the Venetian Patriarch Angelo Roncalli (later elected pope, under the name of Giovanni XXIII).

The first edition took place in Pisa a month later, the 1st July 1956: even Giovanni Gronchi and Gennaro Cassiani, respectively the President of the Republic of that time and the President of the Merchant Marine Gennaro, attended the event.

From the first edition, the Republic of the Serenissima has won the competition 34 times, the last one in 2019.