Articles // Venice // Culture Watch Venice’s Canals Transform During Vogalonga 29 Apr 2016 Every year in Venice around about the month of May, hundreds of boats take to the famous canals for an unusual boat race. Well, you can’t really call it a race, because it’s more good-natured protest than competition. The Vogalonga began in 1974 as a response to to the growing use of powerboats on the city’s delicate waterways. The boats’ engines were damaging the canals, and locals were having none of it. So they took to the water in canoes, rafts, lilos (possibly), and whatever other kinds of engine-free watercraft they could find. These days, anyone with a floating vessel can enter (within reason), and participants have traveled from as far as China to take part. The ‘race’ begins in the St. Mark’s Basin in front of the Ducal Palace, and from there contestants float along a designated route until they can float no more. Judging from pictures, it looks like a semi-serious event. However, there have been years when so many make-shift boats disintegrated that they had to call it off. This year’s Vogalonga takes place on May 15. To get to the starting point from Generator Venice, take the B Ferry to San Marco and walk.