With the end of the summer fast approaching, Venice is nowhere near ending its sagre season. Noted as one of the most important times of the year, the end of August and early September revive the culture, art, and history of this grand city. One of the most important of these festivals is the Biennale, a major art exhibition established in 1895 and hosting some of the most famous exhibits of art, architecture, cinema, dance, music, theater, and history, and draws crowds of over 370,000. In addition to this festival, “The Queen of the Adriatic” holds several other festivals, among some of more monumental and celebrated are Venice’s International Film Festival and the Regata Storica.
Regata Storica – September 1st
The Regata Storica is one of Venice’s most traditional celebrations. Each year the biggest boat-racing event in the world takes place on the first Sunday in September. Starting in 1315, Venice became home to a historic pageant and gondola race that glides down the city’s main canal. Typically during this brightly colored parade with gondoliers dressed in costumes, 16th century-style boats carry the Doge and the Doge’s wife along with all the highest ranking Venetian officials up the Grand Canal. Thousands of spectators gather along the bridges to get a glimpse of the elaborate costumes and gondoliere. Onlookers are also dressed up in costumes as they enjoy an unlimited supply of music and of course, outstanding cuisine. This beautiful occasion takes place every year in memory of Caterina Cornaro, the queen of Cyprus who renounced her thrown for the kingdom of Venice
After the pageant and procession, four different boat races occur:
- A gondola race with young crew of aspiring gondoliere
- A gondola race of women
- A gondola race of Caroline boats (typical Venetian boats) with men using six oars
- A gondola race of rowing champions, which is the highlight of the event
All of the boat races take place along the Grand Canal and prizes include money, coveted flags and a “King of the Oar.” This prize is awarded to a rowing champion in the last event who has won five consecutive times in a row. The regatta pennants are the prize every Venetian rower dreams of; red for the winner, white for second place, green for third, and blue for fourth place.
Venice Film Festival – August 28th– September 7th
This year Venice is excited to celebrate the 70th International Film Festival. The oldest running international film festival in the world, this eleven-day
extravaganza was founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi and was formerly known as “Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica” and it occurs every year on the island of Lido in Venice. Screenings take place in the historic Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi and other nearby venues. One of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, this year the Venice Film Festival works in conjunction with the Venice Biennale. Without a doubt every year this International Film Festival attracts famous actors, directors, and artists from all around the world who are vying for the coveted golden lions.
There are many high-status awards given out each year to outstanding directors, actors, and overall impressive work.
- Best Actor or Actress – Coppa Volpi (Volpi Cup)
- Best Director – Leone d’Argento (Silver Lion)
- Best Film – Leone d’Oro (Golden Lion)
Special lions maybe be awarded for overall work to either a director, actor or film presented in the main competition section. There are also separate competition sections for short films, medium-length films and “custom-format” works with a wider range of viewers, which exhibit new trends and impressive languages.
Have you been to Venice for either of these events? What was your favorite part?