Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Castello to Rome by Canoe

The 25th April saw the start of the 30th annual descent of the River Tiber from Citta di Castello to Rome. This now internationally acknowledged event, is the highlight of the canoeing calendar, especially for the clubs of Castello and Milan whose members made the first trip back in 1969.

Over the intervening years the event was run intermittently but in 1982, canoeist Francisco Bartolozzi, organised the festival for the first time and although the trip was undertaken by a small group, it assured the descents future. The following year there were more participants as well as an accompanying Army lorry used to transport the canoeist belongings, tents and support equipment. Before this all equipment was carried in the canoes and often ended up soaking wet.

1984 saw the competition come of age and attracted over 200 registrations and also have two Army trucks in attendance. Now it is recognised throughout the canoeing world and entrants arrive from all over Europe, include individual professional competitors, family groups, with ages from 5 to 80 years old.

The week long trip covering 25 -30 Km each day, has a troop of supports who follow the competitors, some on foot, by bicycle or in one of the support vehicles. They help at the difficult sections porting canoes around weirs and dams, setting up camp with its famous field kitchen.

The event also has an ecological aspect to it, helping to monitor the rivers course, erosion and pollution. Food cooked during the week uses locally produced ingredients and encourages people to examine the relationships between man and the environment. It allows people to renew old friendships, appreciate the beautiful landscape, towns and villages along the river and experience a tranquil, leisurely trip to Rome.

For anyone interested in cheering on our intrepid adventurers, they will be starting from the Ponte del Tevere, Citta di Castello on 25/4, Umbertide 26/4, Deruta 27/4, Fratta Todina 28/4, Civitella del Lago 29/4, Nazzano 30/4, arriving at Ponte Milvio, Rome 1 May.

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