The story of Regatta:
The Regatta, with no doubt one of the most famous and spectacular of Italian commemorative events, reminds us of an age that was very important in our national history: the era of the Italian Marine Republics, fundamental for increasing trades, contacts, scientific knowledge and art in all the Mediterranean area.
The city of PISA, GENOVA, AMALFI, VENICE were among the main protagonists and still today their coat of arms decorate the flag of our civil and military Navy. Pisa was the second of the great Marine Republics to attain its moment of glory as a military and commercial power in the Mediterranean Sea.
Rising immediately after the fall of Amalfi, Pisa was crushed by the expanding might of the city of Genoa which, by annihilating the Pisan fleet in 1284 at the Melorie, marked the end of Pisa's medieval dominance of the seas. Genoa, and later Venice, were able to control commerce on the seas of Levant and thus, in contrast to Pisa and Amalfi, maintain their ancient power and prestige.
The idea of commemorating the characters and stories of the four old Republics with a spectacular and typically seafaring event was born in 1954, but the first official inauguration of the present day rowing competition took place in Pisa in 1956. From that day, the yearly competition has taken place, in turn, on the sea at Amalfi and Genoa, on the Arno in Pisa, on the lagoon in Venice.
A spectacular and commemorative procession always precedes the boat race.
Each city's group of circa 350 people dressed in precious costumes according to ancient patterns, must recall and represent episodes and situations from its marine history. Kinzica de' Sismondi, for example, is the legendary heroine who, according toa tradition, saved the city of Pisa from the Muslims invasion in 1004 by ringing the alarm and thus rallying the armed men in time to throw the invaders back. She belongs to the Pisan procession.
The Regatta: the boats are identical frigates, in shape, structure, rudder and weight; with 8 oarsmen & helmsman. The only difference is in their figureheads and their colours: red with an eagle for Pisa, green with a lion for Venice, blue with winged horse for Amalfi, white with a griffin for Genoa. The crews wear uniforms with their respective colours, of course.
Read about the new Antiche Repubbliche Marinare here.