VENICE, ITALY - JANUARY 06: Two of the participants sail under Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal ahead of the 34th Befana Regatta on January 6, 2012 in Venice, Italy. In Italian folklore, Befana is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on the feast of the Epiphany on January 6 in a similar way to Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus.
Images from Venice event and around the world about Epiphany
The mascareta is a traditional, flat-bottomed Venetian rowing boat, well suited to the conditions of the Venetian Lagoon. For centuries gondolas were the chief means of transportation and most common water craft within Venice. In modern times the iconic boats still have a role in public transport in the city, serving as traghetti (ferries) over the Grand Canal. They are also used in special regattas (rowing races) held amongst gondoliers. It is similar to punting, except it uses an oar to propel it instead of a pole.