One of my favorite Venice events is the Vogalonga, a 30 Kilometer rowing event that starts and ends at St. Mark's. It's a non-competitive race open to just about every rowing type boat imaginable from one man kayaks to 16 man boats, canoes and drum boats. This year's event began, unfortunately, in a light rain, that progressed to a heavy rain at a few points during the day. Not a good day for the rowers. The good news is the sun came out towards the middle of the afternoon, just as rowers were finding places to pull up their boats to rest at the end of a long, wet 30 kilometers.
This year 1,700 boats and 7,000 rowers from all over the world participated.
Between 9 am and 3pm, the Grand Canal is closed to all motorized boat traffic, so no vaporettos available. If you needed to get somewhere today, you were walking, or taking a very long route around the outside of the city, or- worse case, renting a private water taxi that was also taking a long route to your destination as they also were not allowed on the Grand Canal during the regatta. I have to say, while we were waiting for the first of the boats to return to the Grand Canal, the silence on the canal is almost eerie. It's something you don't see too often, so when you do, you can't help but be awe struck by how just how grand this canal is.
Here's a look at the Vogalonga course, beginning at St. Mark's square, down around Sant'Elena, past Certosa Island, Sant Erasmo island, Burano, Mazzorbo, Murano and back through Venice down the Cannaregio canal to the Grand Canal ending at St. Mark's.