Livorno’s division into ‘Rioni’ is never more heartfelt than during the city’s annual rowing races. There are three main races and several others, eleven of them in all, beginning with the Coppa Gaetano D’Alesio in April and ending with the Palio delle Circoscrizioni in August. The most important events are the Coppa Risiatori, Coppa Barontini (both in June) and the Palio Marinaro (in July).
There are two separate races at each event, with two different rowboat categories – the four man ‘gozzetta’ and the ten man ‘gozzo’. Eight of the sixteen districts (rioni) of Livorno compete in the four man races, while the remaining eight take part in the races for the bigger ten man boats. Only the results of the Palio Marinaro can change the classification of a team: the team that wins the four man gozzetta race is promoted to a ten-man gozzo for the following year, while the team that comes last in the ten man gozzo race is relegated to a four man boat.
Today’s ten man boats are about 9.2 metres long and weigh about 420 kg. They are not dissimilar to the gigs used in Cornwall.
To read about the rowing teams, click here