June 27, 2009

Venice gets first female gondolier

One of Italy's last bastions of male privilege has been breached with the coming of the first female gondolier in Venice, observers said.

Giorgia Boscolo, 23, a married mother of two, successfully completed Venice's official gondolier license test Friday, enabling her to start an apprenticeship as a second captain, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

ANSA said Boscolo would become the first official female gondolier in the city in 900 years.

I'm immensely happy and proud but today my day starts like every other, taking the children to school, she told the news agency, indicating she became determined to follow in her gondolier father's footsteps when she was 7 years old.

I've always loved gondolas and, unlike my three sisters, I preferred to punt with my father instead of going out with my friends, Boscolo said, brushing aside concerns by male gondoliers that she doesn't have the strength to navigate the 36-foot-long, 1,100-pound boats.

Childbirth is much more difficult, she told ANSA.