Today, day of the Epiphany, is the day that Italian children celebrate the coming of the Befana, a kindly witch who delivers treats or tricks (much like Santa).
While the day is special throughout Italy, Venice commemorates the last day of the Christmas season with the Regata delle Befane, a boat race through the lagoon on 6 Janaury.
Venice stages dozens of regattas throughout the year. But this one, featuring witches with broomsticks — Befane — aboard the boats, is not to be missed.
The tradition is upheld by athletes from Reale Società Canottieri Bucintoro 1882, Venice’s oldest rowing club, who race through the canal from San Tomà to the Rialto Bridge. You can view more images of the Regata delle Befane and other regattas from the Bucintoro photo gallery.
For more information about Venice events, visit the City of Venice website.
Post first published on 6 January 2007