While all of us in the voga-alla-Veneta world were training our focus on the Vogalonga, something more than noteworthy happened in a race known as the Regata of the Ancient Maritime Republics. Yes, it has an equally impressive Italian name, but I chose to introduce it first by it's English equivalent.
This is a regata between four republics: Genoa, Amalfi, Pisa, and of course Venezia.
They don't row Venetian-style - it's in the old facing-backward manner so popular with the rest of the world. It's a great way to propel a boat, but doesn't make for much of a view.
So every year teams from these four "republics" get together for a race, a grudge match, and aside from calcio (soccer) rivalries, one of the biggest focus points of pride and bragging rights today for the four cities involoved.
The contest has been going on since 1956 and until this week, there has always been an awarded winner.
I could try to describe all that's happened, but I'd just be duplicating the expert efforts of Erla Zwingle. Take a look at her post "Galleons Can Break Your Heart" and grab a quick education on the Regata Antiche Repubbliche.
Then set aside 14 minutes of your life and watch the race for yourself. It's well worth it. See this YouTube link to get a front row seat (a link through Erla's post is also available).
Next, click on Nereo Zane's "Palio delle Republiche Marinare" and do your best translating.
At the end of the day, only one team was deemed the "winner", and yet no trophy or ribbon was awarded.
In the fifty-five years of this competition, this is the first time such a thing has ever happened.
Looks like we all have to wait another year on this one.
I predict that in a year's time, there will be even more cheering and screaming than there was this year.