HISTORY - From the navigli to the first regattas

Milan is located in a privileged position, south of Lake Como and a short distance from Lake Maggiore, historic holiday destinations for Milanese people.

From the navigli to the regattas, the step was short.

Few people know that even before the foundation of the prestigious Italian Royal Yacht Club (1879) in Genoa, the Società delle Regate – the first Italian yacht club – was founded in 1858 in Belgirate on the western shores of Lake Maggiore, which counted illustrious figures of Italian Risorgimento history among its members, such as the Cairoli brothers, Giuseppe Garibaldi himself, the founders Ruggero Bonghi, a daring explorer, and the statesman Marchese Massimo D’Azeglio, son-in-law of Alessandro Manzoni.

Still close to Milan, and specifically on Lake Como, the Società Regate Club was then born in 1872, as testified by the Lloyd Register of Yacht, the British sailing yearbook, in its 1900 edition.

darsena milano

Before this foundation, there is news of the first regatta in Italy, always on Lake Como on a route that wound between Dongo and Bellagio, in the distant 1850 won by the Marquis Lodovico Trotti Bentivoglio, a Milanese with a villa in San Giovanni di Bellagio, who preceded other noble gentlemen with prestigious boats.

In addition to giving birth to the first Italian regatta winner, Milan has maintained a very close relationship with sport navigation to this day. One example among many is Giovanni Soldini, a famous sailor, of whom (l’avvocato) Agnelli said, with one of his brilliant witticisms, “he is the only man in the world capable of finding a woman even in the middle of the ocean” referring to the epic rescue of French sailor Isabelle Autissier that took place in 1999 during the third leg of the Around Alone, the solo around the world sailing race, an achievement that earned the champion the Legion of Honor from President Jacques Chirac.