Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Calm Before the Swarm: Vogalonga Eve (Tonight)

As ghosts and witches are supposed to come out on the eve of All Souls Day, so some extremely strange creatures have appeared on the shores of the lagoon this evening, in preparation for tomorrow's Vogalonga. They are definitely not native to these waters, nor very well suited to them (their long oars can't fit in most canals, the wake of vaporetti sorely try them, and rowing backward in a craft of limited maneuverability is hardly ideal for the tricky shallows of the lagoon), but they are always welcome participants in what will be Venice's 38th annual "celebration of the oar."

This year, the local papers say, a new record has been set for the number of entrants; last year there were over 6,000 rowers in 1,650 boats. You can visit the official website (in English and Italian) here:


  1. I saw some photos of the Vogalonga taken from a helicopter; you had it dead right calling if a swarm!

    1. Crazy, wasn't it? And marvelous too. It's the one instance in which I can imagine getting claustrophobic while out on the lagoon. But I plan to do it next year. (Though a friend who did it this year--and encouraged me to do the same--and really loved it, also admitted to me that the next day she was "stanchissima.")