The Regata Storica is a water pageant which commemorates the welcome given, in 1489, to the Venetian Caterina Cornaro, Queen of Cyprus, who had renounced her throne in favour of the Venetian Republic.
The sky that afternoon was the bluest of blues, the embankments by the Ponte di Rialto were thronged with people and I had to shin half way up a lamppost in order to see what was happening on the Grand Canal. It was the most colourful spectacle I had ever witnessed (I grew up in the north-east of England so, admittedly, the competition wasn't stiff) and I fell in love with Venice there and then.
I have never had the chance to see the regatta again until today and it was with much excitement that I made my way this afternoon to Santa Maria della Salute.
I joined a crowd of spectators who were sitting on the steps in the shade of the church. This gave us all a good view of the Bacino di San Marco, the starting point of the pageant.
The sun was again shining, the city was even more crowded, but something had changed. Compared with what I remember, today's regata seemed such a lacklustre, little affair with far fewer 'historical' boats. Or is it simply me looking back at that afternoon, all those years ago, through rose-tinted spectacles?