Every year, on the first Sunday of September, Venice celebrates the Regata Storica along the city"s most famous canal. The event is the highlight of the Venetian rowing calendar and consists of two parts: a historical boat parade and a series of rowing races. Festivities begin with a regal water pageant comprising a flotilla of colorful boats from the 16th century. Gondoliers are dressed in period costume as they ferry high-ranking Venetian officials up the Grand Canal in a faithful recreation of Venice"s storied maritime past. The regatta commemorates the welcome given in 1489 to Caterina Cornaro, the wife of the King of Cyprus, who renounced her throne in favor of Venice.