Vogo e Ti Difendo (I Row to Defend You; By Rowing, I Defend You) is an annual event established by the Coordinamento Associazione Remiere (see their site for a video from last year’s event). This Saturday morning, Aprile 25th, hundreds of local vogatori (men, women, Venetian, Italian, French, Australian, British, Russian, American…and more) will amass in the bacino di San Marco to row around the entire city (a course of 22 kilometers, or about 14 miles) to demonstrate both their numbers, and the devotion to voga. The marathon will begin at 9:30, and follow the route below.
Vogo e Ti Difendo differs from Vogalonga (which takes place at the end of May) in that it is restricted only to those rowing the voga alla veneta. The route is also tougher in that it encircles the city, and because motor traffic is not halted, the “seas” remain choppy, and even more inhospitable for these shallow-bottomed, human-powered, lagoon boats — emphasizing the point the event intends to illustrate.
Despite the iconic image of the gondola, the casual visitor to Venice understands little of the rowing style that is unique to the city and its history. This event is one of the ways its practitioners try to bring to light both to the Comune and the Veneziani del mondo, “Venetians of the World” the value of maintaining the voga alla veneta as a part of Venetian life.