First lady joins official ranks of Venice's gondoliers

Giorgia Boscolo pictured in July 2009 Giorgia Boscolo endured a year of stringent tests and training

Authorities in Italy's lagoon city of Venice have granted a full licence to a female gondolier for the first time.

Mother-of-two Giorgia Boscolo, 24, whose father was also a gondolier, passed a year-long series of practical and written tests.

Mrs Boscolo joins the hitherto all-male Venetian gondoliers' guild and can now officially row tourists through the city's narrow canals.

She hopes to have her own gondola tied up in front of St Mark's Basilica.

Venice deputy mayor Sandro Simionato admitted there had been "excessive male domination" inside the 425-strong gondoliers' guild, which jealously guards its ancient traditions and skills.

But the BBC's David Willey in Rome says that even now, Giorgia Boscolo can only stand in for a male colleague if he wants to take a day off from the lucrative job of rowing tourists.

Fares start from 40 euros ($50 £32) for a 20-minute ride in the glossy 11-metre long, black-painted craft with its distinctive metal prow.

More Europe stories


Features & Analysis

  • Man holding lipWitch hunt

    The country where a writer accused of blasphemy must run

  • Espresso cupNews quiz

    Which city serves the strongest cup of coffee?

  • Irvine WelshDeaf ears

    Five famous Scots who can't vote in the Scottish referendum

  • Electric chairReturn of 'the chair'

    Five people talk about their roles in Tennessee's execution debate

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Canada.Hidden rail trip

    Canada's tiny, two-car shuttle is a train lover's dream with scenic views


  • Leader of Hamas Khaled MeshaalHARDtalk Watch

    BBC exclusive: Hamas leader on the eagerness to end bloodshed in Gaza

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.