Beneath her, she noticed a four-man crew shell skimming across the water and passing under the bridge. The hull read SOCIETÀ CANOTTIERI FIRENZE / FLORENCE ROWING CLUB. The shell’s distinctive red-and-white oars rose and fell in perfect unison.
(Dan Brown, Inferno)
The bridge that Dan Brown refers to is the Ponte Vecchio, and the club is one of the glories of the Florentine sport.
The Società Canottieri Firenze is a rowing club that was founded in 1886.
This amateur sport association is dear to the Florentines and competes with other rowing associations in the city. On May 12, 1887, the city celebrated the inauguration of the facade of Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral. Among the many city events was a rowing race on the Arno River.
The Società Canottieri, as it is currently named―without the word Firenze―was established in 1911.
At that time, young canottieri had already participated in major competitions on a national level and had been training in the small storage area under Ponte Vecchio.
The association takes the heraldic colors of the City of Florence, which also characterize the shirts: white with three alternating red bands. The current headquarters were established in 1933.
Since 1981, the Florentines have held an annual special race on June 24, the feast day of Florence’s patron saint, St. John. This event joins the famous “fòchi” (fireworks) of the Festa di San Giovanni.
Today, the Società Canottieri comprises about 700 members, some of which can be seen every day training on the Arno.
Rowers of this club compete with other rowers from Florence and from around the world and often win!
For the Florentines, this association is like a family member.
For those visiting Florence, the company’s registered office is a unique place: it is located just below the Uffizi Gallery, along the Arno River.
Visitors can dip their feet in the Arno and gaze upward to admire the Ponte Vecchio and Vasari Corridor above.
This is a magical place that can be reached simply by passing along a ramp starting at the embankment near the Uffizi Palace!
We do not even want to think about the beauty of the dinners that members of the clubs sometimes organize in this place.
The Società Canottieri place is another little stunning surprise to be found in the beautiful City of Florence.
Picture by annavsculture and Jill Duran