The Lady Gondolier(s)

By | Category: Travel rumblings


a male (as usual)

I might have mentioned once or twice before that I am rather fond of Venice. Lounging (it is possible outside the main tourist season) in a number 1 vaporetto as it meanders down the Grand canal and the over to the Lido and then catching the 52 back up the Guidecca therefore completing a circuit will cost me only a small amount to see a lot of the sites.
One thing I have never done is taken a gondolier. It is quite expensive and down some of the smaller canals it gets pretty busy in the early evening. It costs about €90 for three quarters of an hour but outside the busy times you can bargain a little bit. For €90 I can get a good hotel room overlooking the Grand Canal in the off season.
But the appeal to hire one might have just increased as, after 900 years, a lady gondolier has appeared. Giorgia Boscolo has undergone the 6 month course to learn how to row the 35 foot long flat bottomed boats (and presumably to sing in a tenor’s voice as well as this seems obligatory as the evening wears on)and has become the first women to pass it.
But is she the first?
Alexandra Hai has campaigned for a long time to be allowed to be a gondolier but has not passed the test. Still she works for a hotel so the courts (yes it went as far as that) have allowed her to continue ferrying hotel guests around the canals. So I suppose she was the first (until someone says differently)
There are 425 gondoliers and some evenings it seems they are all somewhere between the Rialto and St Mark’s. How they never manage to collide with the vaporettos that criss-cross the canals or the hotel motor boats or the other boats moving goods around I will never know. Now they are joined by a women gondolier but it would be ungallant to talk of women drivers!

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