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Historical Regatta of S. Ranieri
Regata di S. Ranieri

The Regatta is held on June 17th, the feast day of the city’s patron saint, and is reserved for the vessels of the four ‘historical’ quarters of the city – S. Maria (white-blue), S. Francesco (white-yellow), S. Antonio (white-green), S. Martino (white-red). The race takes place rowing against the current on a 1,500 meter-long stretch of the Arno.
Victory goes to the crew whose ‘montatore’ is the first to tear off the banner from the tall rd raised on a large vessel anchored in the center of the river. The crew classified last receives the traditional consolation ‘papere’ or ducks, which takes us back to the origins of the competition in the 13th century when the races were disputed on land and in the water, generally on the feast of the Assumption. In addition to the banner or palio, the winners of these competitions received prizes in kind, particulary animals: an ox, a sheep, a pig, a rooster, while a duck was given to the loser. The rowing contests on the Arno had their ups and downs, depending in part on the historical vicissitudes of the city.

After having lapsed in the period of Florentine domination, the tradition was once more introduced for the feast of the Assumption in 1635. Some of the ships which took part in the ‘palio’ dedicated to Saint Ranieri in 1718 were named after the galleys of the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen which had taken part in the victorious battle of Lepanto against the Turks. In 1737 the specific features of the Regatta of S. Ranieri began to be defined concerning the area of the contest and the arrival, eventually becoming one of the most deeply rooted traditions which to all effects is still alive today with many special editions of the event.

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