Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa and Venice, the famous ancient Marine Republics (Repubbliche Marinare), are the protagonists of a historical rivalry on the water. This rivalry continues today with a famous competition held at sea, which is called the Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare or the Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics.
Mirro Chiaverini, from Pisa, and Francesco Amodio, from Amalfi, can be considered the founders of this spectacular event. The idea to hold an event that would recall the brilliant deeds of the ancient Repubbliche Marinare began in the 1940s.
The memorandum of association of the Ente Regata delle Quattro Repubbliche Marinare, the Regatta of the Four Ancient Maritime Republics, was drawn up on December 10th, 1955. Once this event was founded each town consulted their historical records in order to come up with traditional costumes and designs for their vessels.
Everything was kept as realistic and traditional as possible since the event was founded with the aim of evoking the ancient rivalry existing among the Maritime Republics. These days, however, the rivalry is a healthy and sporting competition between the four towns that participate in the regatta.
The event is preceded by a historical pageant of 400 boaters, which occasionally parades abroad in towns like New York and Berlin. It also includes a procession of people belonging to the four Repubbliche that attend the event wearing traditional costumes. Trumpets, flags, drums and horses pass through the streets of the town where the event is being organized.
The Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare takes place once a year on a single day. The event takes place between May and July in one of the four towns, which take turns hosting. The 2019 Regata was recently staged on June 1st in Venice.
The event is based on a regatta using galleons (multi-decked sailing ships) that recall a style from the 12th century, when they were designed and built by Alvio Vaglini.
Each town has its own vessel, each weighing in at 760 kilos and measuring 11 meters long. Decorated with a characteristic style, each town has a symbolic color they use on their vessels. Amalfi is represented by a light blue color, Pisa by red, Genoa by white and Venice by green.
Apart from the colors there are other distinguishing features that allow people to understand which town the boats belong to. Flags positioned on the prow, together with the symbols of each town, can help the participants of the event to identify the vessels. Amalfi, for example uses a Pegasus as its symbol, Genoa a dragon, and Pisa and Venice use an imperial eagle and the Saint Mark’s lion, respectively. The competition is held along a 2 kilometer water course.
The town that wins the regatta is awarded a silver and gold trophy, designed by the Scuola Orafa Fiorentina, the Florentine Goldsmith School, representing a galleon supported by four sea horses under which the four coats of arms of the Repubbliche are positioned. At the base of the trophy there are medals where the symbol of the winning town is added each year. The number of times a symbol appears shows how many times a city has won.
The Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare is certainly a unique and exclusive event that mirrors the history of these amazing towns, and which boast a long maritime tradition. If you can, try to attend at least once in your life, not only for the sport, but also to see history brought to life.