La Befana

In Italian folklore, Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany, January 6. If you’ve been naughty, expect some carbone, a black candy that looks like a lump of coal.

On Venice’s Grand Canal, men cast dignity to the wind, and, dressed as old witches ( befane in Italian) race towards the Rialto Bridge, standing up as they row Venetian style, in single-oared mascarete. The reward for their hard effort? Some fun,some vin brule, and a pennant if they were one of the first 4 across the finish line.

Crowds of happy people lined both sides of the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge, and space on the bridge itself was at a premium.

Serving vin brule (hot spicy red wine)

 

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12 Comments

Filed under Venice

12 responses to “La Befana

  1. They looked dead serious about the race, Pat!

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  2. Pat

    Italians have such a great sense of humor! So funny!!

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  3. What fun. These guys are hilarious and your photos are great. I love vin brule!

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  4. Love how the men look as old witches.

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  5. Michelle

    It’s Yvonne who is the treasure!

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  6. How terrific that you are there to share all these treasures with us! Thank you, Yvonne!

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  7. That looks like so much fun.

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  8. Michelle

    Is it only men “of a certain age” who take part….she said noting all the gray mustaches???

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