The Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics is a competition on eight-oared galleons among the crews of the cities of Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa and Venice. The event is held in a different city each year (this year, in Amalfi), combining a fascinating historical and cultural message with a spectacular competition. These four cities have competed in the 2,000-meter race since 1956. Each of the four boats competing represents one of these “maritime republics,” with the sculpted figure head at the prow of the boat proudly declaring the boat’s alliance — the winged horse (for Amalfi), the winged dragon (Genoa), the eagle (Pisa) and the lion (Venice).
The competition is preceded by a historical procession, during which you can see unthread along the roads of the organizing city some actors that wear medieval costumes reproduced by ancient models, flags, trumpets and drums. Every group has the assignment to remember and to re-enact episodes and characters of the maritime history of its own city, and therefore of the whole country and its role in the Mediterranean sea.
The Venetian procession accompanies the litter of Caterina Cornaro, the beautiful Queen of Cypress, who bequeathed the uskabd to her beloved Venice, The Tuscan parade portrays the episode when their heroin, Kinzica de’ Sismondi, saved the city from night-timme Saracens raid in 1604, by ringing the bells to awaken the warriors. The Ligurian procession recalls the triumph of Guglielmo Embriaco, also known as “Hammer-head”, the Genovese general who guided his city’s fleet during the seize of Jerusalem in the course of the first Crusade (1099). The Amalfitan procession closes the parade amongst nuptian veils and a shower of rose petals, thus celebrating the marriage of the Young Duke Giovanni II with the “purissima e patricissima” Maria, a noble-lady of Norman origins.
The Regatta has a statute, that establishes the constitution of the organizational corporate body, its purpose and its composition. About the rule we can reassume shortly it saying that the competition foresees that the crews are composed by 8 rowers, a helmsman and the reserves. Years ago crews were formed from athletes been born in the respective cities, provinces and regions or resident there from at least ten years, but beginning from 2004 it is established that they has to be composed half by athletes coming from the Region and half by athletes coming from the Province.
The boats must be build all with same structural parameters. Their weight has to be at the most of 760Kgs. To respect such parameter the boats, once built in wood, now are realized in vetroresina. Boats are recognizable by the wooden sculptures (now in vetroresina also) set on the bow that represent every city animal symbol and by colors. For this motive, Amalfi boat is identified by the blue color and by the winged horse, the Genoa one by the white color and by the dragon (it is due to St. George, the city protector), the Pisa one by the red color and by the eagle (it symbolizes the ancient bond among the Pisa Republic and the Sacred Roman Empire) and the Venice one by the green color and by the winged lion (it’s due to St. Mark, patron of the city).
The run of competition is long 2 Kms, and it develops in Amalfi and in Genoa in the Tyrrhenian sea, in Pisa in the Arno river countercurrent and in Venice in the characteristic lagoon. Before the beginning of the competition the passages are drawn. It’s forbidden, during the competition, to invade the adversary passage. Punishment is the demotion to the last place decreed by the jury. It’s allowed, instead, the change only in case a crew is a boat ahead in comparison to an adversary.