Saturday, May 8, 2010

Festa del Capiteo

photo by Nereo Zane
Somewhere between Venice and the mainland, along the route followed by rowers and motorboat captains, there's a "capiteo". Sure there are innumerable ones throughout the Veneto, but this one is special to those of us who row by there.

A capiteo is a sort of shrine.
The Venetians are famous for having their own versions of words. The Italian word is "capitello", but the Venetians (always looking to soften an "L") call it a "capiteo".
Most of these little shrines are on the sides of buildings, and I've also seen them along the sides of roads.

Each year the two clubs who maintian this capiteo get together around the first of May and hold a ceremony.
There are countless rowing clubs active in the Venetian lagoon today. Some are small, proud groups of tight friends, who happen to have a boat or two. Others are larger clubs, with full compliments of boats. Then there are the ones everybody knows - their presence in a field of vessels is noticed by all - in addition to a full fleet, they often have at least one larger boat which gets photographed in every parade.

It seems fitting that the two clubs who host this event are not only of the highest stature, but are the ones responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the capiteo.
The GSVVM on the mainland, and the Tre Archi in Cannaregio get together and renew their reverence each year. Others join in if they can. This year the "Big Boat from Brenta" was also part of the flotilla.
Nereo Zane was there to photograph and experience it all.
He writes:
"Somebody of Tre Archi found the "Capiteo" and then the club members decided to restore and put it on those briccole. The GSVVM decided to cooperate in taking care of it.
Every year after the mass there is a lunch with typical Venetian food. One year the organization is care of Tre Archi and the other of GSVVM. "

To see a series of photos and read Nereo's reporting in Italian, go to his blog. The post is from May 6th.

To read more about the Tre Archi club, check out their website.

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