Once upon a time…

…there was a group of five women rowers with a strong passion for the voga alla veneta, both its history and current practice as a sport, exercise, and pure pleasure. The voga is the Venetian style of rowing – standing up, facing forward – that is unique to the Veneto, as old as Venice itself, and could be said to be responsible for the city’s very existence. Yet as integral an activity and culture as the voga has been, since the onset of the private motorboat in the 1960s, the ability to practice it has been under constant threat.

If you don’t row, you don’t know.

These five women in particular, in their shared experience, have recognized how precious the voga was to the Venetian identity, the lagoon communities, and indeed to the entire Veneto region. Their response was to form the cultural association Voga per l’Identita Veneta, or VIVA, a non-profit organization run by volunteers, with the mission to document, care for, celebrate, and sustain the voga and those who practice it, both past and present.

The group remained in five for only what seemed like moments after the association was formed, because within weeks they had over 50 members; and its membership still increases daily. It is an idea whose time has come.

What do they do?

VIVA’s goals are to acquire materials and testimonials that document the history of the voga, to support the existance and integration of the voga itself as a part of daily Venetian life, and to seek means of a peaceful co-existence of all types water craft, whether motor or oar-powered in the Venetian lagoon.

In fact, we are co-producers of a documentary project, Beyond the Gondola, currently in production, recounting the history and practice of the voga alla veneta and role of women in its resurgence. We have a variety of other projects in the works, some practical, some archival, all of which we look forward to sharing in the future.

For a more detailed description, please read on.

Could I get involved?

We thought you’d never ask. 10 minutes, €10. That’s it. Find out how.