The Vogalonga is a non-competitive community rowing event in Venice that was begun more that 40 years ago by a small group of friends and has since swelled to include as many as 8,000 participants. The rowers follow a long course from the Canale di San Marco, around Sant'Elena, into the northern lagoon and back again.
The vogalonga is and has always been a non-commercial activity, untaken by Venetians in the interest of preserving their tradition of rowing and appreciating and enjoying their environment: the lagoon. With thousands of participants, it is also one of the largest community activities that takes place in Venice. That we visitors on land get to enjoy the beautiful spectacle of thousands of colorful traditional boats and teams of rowers traversing the canals and the lagoon of Venice is a very special privilege and certainly a pleasure.
To ensure the safety of the rowers and avoid interrupting the event, the public transportation companies of Venice change and or suspend service. (See the schedule here.) In fact, there are normally very few motorized boats of any kind or size in the waterways of Venice during the Vogalonga. However, it is now reported that at the commencement of the Vogalonga of 2015, a massive cruise ship will traverse the Canale di San Marco.
With the Vogalonga taking place tomorrow, May 24th 2015, there was very little notice given to the event organizers or the rowers of the Vogalonga. Above is a photograph shared in social media yesterday afternoon, of an announcement, oddly written in English, of the expected movement of this ship. La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre also published an announcement about it yesterday.
The ship, the 92,000+ ton MSC Musica, is scheduled to sail through the basin of San Marco at 8:15 AM; Through the exact starting point of the Vogalonga, at the exact time when teams of rowers will be arriving for the start of the race.
Naturally, many people are in shock and disbelief that a massive ship would be allowed to traverse the waters of Saint Marks Basin at a moment when it is known that thousands of Venetians in small boats will also be on the water. Many Venetians planning to row in the Vogalonga are concerned for their safety. Many find this news to be a massive affront to Venetians, their culture, even their very right to safely enjoy the waterways of their own city. It is quite surprising that this should happen not two weeks after a large public protest against big ships in Venice. And, it is certainly a very sharp contrast to the entire spirit of the Vogalonga - A tradition begun for the very purpose of preserving and enjoying the activity of rowing in Venice at time when motorized boats were beginning to dominate the canals - to imagine not a vaporetto, but a 92,000+ ton cruise ship dwarfing more than a thousand small man-powered boats.
**It remains to be seen what, if any protest will be made against the sailing of this ship at such an inopportune moment. Or, whether the MSC Musica can be convinced to wait and allow Venetians to safely enjoy this very special event in Venice. At the moment, OG Venice is primarily concerned for the safety of all of our friends who will be rowing in the Vogalonga tomorrow.**
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Recommended Reading in & about Venice:
Things to Do & See in Venice:
Venice Blogs & Websites We Love:
Naturally Epicurean -
Venice Food Guide and Healthy Italian Food Blog full of both excellent recommendations for eating out in Venice and lots of healthy recipes to try at home.
La Venessiana- Wonderfully Written and Curated Mix of History, Tradition and Recipes all Originating in Venice.
Colazione a Venezia - Breakfast in Venice
The ultimate journal of teas, coffee and pastries in Venice!
Detourism - Sustainable Tourism - Regularly Published Newsletter of Off-the-Beaten-Trail Tourism Suggestions for Venice
Gruppo 25 Aprile - The Blog of a Non-Partisan Citizens Group Sharing Statistics About Venice and Citizens' Concerns about Life in The Lagoon.
Cook in Venice Blog - Recipes, Cookbooks & All the Food News of Venice
I Am Not Making This Up Blog - Witty, Humorous and Impeccably Written Observations about Life in Venice
Venezia Nascosta (Hidden Venice) - Images and Posts Discussing the History, Mysteries and Traditions of Venice
Venezia da Vivere - The Cultural Activity Guide to Venice