La Befana

Regata delle Befane January 6th by Marco Secchi

On the 6th of January will take place the traditional Befane Regatta.

This is a playful regatta between the old members of the city's oldest rowing company, the Bucintoro, which, disguised as "Befane", compete in the central stretch of the Grand Canal from S. Tomà to the Rialto Bridge.

The regatta has reached its 41st edition, 5 members of the Bucintoro will participate, the departure is scheduled at 11 am, the finish line is placed under the Rialto bridge, to which a huge stocking is hung.

 Venice, ITALY. 6 January, 2018. Participants dressed up as elderly women row on the Grand Canal during the 37th Befana Regata. � Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Alamy Live News

Befana or Ephiphany in Venice by Marco Secchi

The Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated January 6 with a national holiday in Italy, and the tradition of La Befana are a big part of Italian Christmas celebrations. Epiphany commemorates the 12th day of Christmas when the three Wise Men arrived at the manger bearing gifts for Baby Jesus. The traditional Christmas holiday season in Italy lasts through Epiphany.On Venice’s Grand Canal, at 11 c'clock men dressed as old witches – ‘befane’ in Italian – race towards the Rialto Bridge, standing up as they row Venetian style. This event takes place every year in January in celebration of Epiphany.

VENICE, ITALY - JANUARY 06: A  participant of the Befana Regata is seen rowing on the Canal Grande on January 6, 2011 in Venice, Italy.  In Italian folklore, Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany January 6 iin a similar way to Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus (Marco Secchi/Getty Images)

Best places to watch the race: Rialto but you must get there quite early, Riva del Vin or just around Rialto Mercato.