Before the rowing competitions start, which turn this celebration into a sport and competitive event, Venice’s Historical Regatta is opened by a brightly coloured water-procession, made up of the Bissone, the Bucintoro and the boats of Venice’s rowing societies.
The show commemorates the arrival in Venice of the queen of Cyprus, Caterina Cornaro, which marked the beginning of Venice’s rule on the Mediterranean island.
The bissone of the Historical Regatta’s parade
The bissone are fast boats, bursting with decorations and showing an imposing outline, used on parades and water processions during the Venetian Republic. The name bissona means “big snake” in Venetian, and some claim they were used as rowing warships.
But when the Historical Regatta is over, where do these colourful and huge ships get to?
We’re going to find it out during one of the stops of our maritime route. While visiting the Arsenal, we’re going to have the chance to enter the hangar where the bissone are kept and an exclusive guide, their keeper, is going to take us on a tour of these large spaces. The bissone’s keeper is in charge of the care and maintenance of these historical boats and he’s going to offer us a lesson on their history and tradition.