If you see a group of gondoliers dressed like old women with bonnets and crocheted shawls, check your watch. You’ve probably arrived in Venice on Epiphany, a national holiday in Italy celebrated on January 6.

Regatta della befana via Flickr CC d'Arcy Vallance

The religious significance is typically overshadowed by the arrival of Befana, a witch-like, broom-riding old woman who, according to Italian tradition, leaves candy in the children’s stockings the night before Epiphany. In Venice, Befana not only powers brooms but also gondolas and other boats through the canals in La Regatta delle Befane, one of the most curious of Venetian regatte.


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Have you ever explored Venice in January? Drop a comment below. I love to hear your stories!