so Alexandra made it, she is the first woman gondolier. but a private gondolier. only a half victory.



update of April 4: in response to Clodia’s comment. i understand it’s kind of shocking and may not be not very feminine to see a woman rowing like a man in the Grand canal. i think this is all about breaking barriers (and making money: don’t forget it’s a great adveertising campaign for the hotel which hired and supported her).

yes, we are surprised. there are contradictions, always: in italy we may be more or less proud of one existing woman gondolier, whilst we begin hearing stories of (how many?) of immigrated women who cannot decide about their own future because “other cultures” (which are only excuses to some men’s power) state that women are inferior beings, which can be segregated, used, beaten and abused. women fought hard to get their independence, and it’s not over. in italy we want to look forward, not backwards, and have different cultures enrich each other. so if Alexandra can be an example of an independent life, i applaude. even though i truly prefer a smiling guy to drive me in the gondola ;)





about gondolas:


16 Responses to “gondoliera”

  1. Bimbadoro Says:

    Hi, I am a subscriber, and would like to receive any articles from you about her. Would you let me know how much it would cost for the translations.

  2. Lucky Luciano Says:

    congratulations. i remember reading your news, she was trying to become a gondolier but failed the exams twice (or more?). hard headed :)

  3. danielle Says:

    i’ll look for her when i come to venice, i want her to ride us around in the gondola :-)

  4. buongiornovenezia Says:

    i don’t know if this means something, probably not: she is German. i’m not, but i’d have tried to do the same :D

  5. Suzanne Says:

    Well on Thursday morning I will be back in Venice with my husband. So, where can we find Alexandria to wish her well?

  6. matz2004 Says:

    cheers! she risks to make a big money, doesn she ;)

  7. Clodia Says:

    I don’t like the idea of a ‘gondoliera’ that look like a man, parading herself on the lagoon or Grand Canal or wherever in Venice. I have enough looking a Miss Piggy during the Carnevale. As they say in Spanish: zapatero a tus zapatos.

  8. buongiornovenezia Says:

    Suzanne, Alexandra Hai has been hired by hotel is Locanda Art Déco (the same which supported her fight angainst the Comune di Venezia).
    Clodia, i respond to you editing the first post about the topic, so that it can be seen more easily.

  9. Clodia Says:

    Thanks for your reply BV. I may be a little bit old fashioned, but this business about women’s liberation is going too far, we are becoming the unisex world. And talking about women being victims… have you any idea of how many men are out there that are abused by their wives or female partners and they keep quiet because is not manly to complain…? I wonder who’s is going to play the role of women in the future… wait a minute… I know who… it’s happening already… Oops!

  10. buongiornovenezia Says:

    ha ha Clodia…! as long as nobody hurts nobody, any role is ok. Oops! :D

  11. Bob Fusillo Says:

    When our friend Ljubica Gunj became the first woman front in Piazza S. Marco, we all thought it would open the gates for more women. But the Aurora is still the only one there with women. In fact, I can’t think of any other cafes in town with women waitresses in outdoor positions.
    If the Aurora is representative, the tourists don’t seem to mind. The pressures are from elsewhere.
    But gondolas seem to be different — tourists I talk to think that a woman gondolier is “OK. Good for her!”– but they want a man. ” A man gondolier,” they say, “is part of the Gondola in Venice experience.” Thought — Rosalba wants a man gondolier — college boys might prefer women
    Tourists want the “real” Venetian experience, which seems to mean pigeons, acqua alta, and men gondoliers. And Neopolitan pizza.

  12. Lisetta Olivier Says:

    If you still wonder what the point is: Alexandra Hai is a FOREIGNER who plays the gondolier, AND a woman: what’s worse than that? Venetians feel this outrageous, and tourists feel somehow betrayed or embarassed.

  13. Marine Says:

    Do you really think that IS the point?
    Read the news and get your own opinion! After 10 years hard work for becoming a Gondolier - why do YOU think gondoliers have not accepted her? City hall privileges, maschilism, power of money, discrimination? Take a wild guess….maybe you are playing dumb!?
    Foreigners that live in Venice today are the REAL Venetians. They love the city heart open and get involved every day to preserve it and show the best of it. Ask a Venetian what he thinks about tourists and see what happens. Money is all that counts in poor merchants head my dear…

  14. Cyn Burton Says:

    Venice took the English poet Byron on as one of its own. Maria Callas, a big ol’ American born vocalist blew through and had ALL Italians wishing they could gulp her up like gelati from a spoon. Venice and her Venetians for sure, get a faceful of tourists, stupid questions and a double doseful of inconsideration everyday…It’s the same in all big cities, in all historical places. So, do we stop coming altogether? Maybe we could draw lots or have a raffle? Venice has been welcoming tourists, artisans, dreamers, lovers all for hundreds of years and occasionally, begrudgingly, takes the odd one of us to her heart. I’m odd enough for 10 tourists and twice as likeable. Open up Vennie, press me to that gorgeous bosom! Keep your chin up Alex. I’m rooting for ya! Still waiting to hear if Clodia had visited my site yet….

    Cyn Burton

  15. Paris Says:

    Gondoliering in Venice is an old tradition, licenses handed down from father to son. This tiny city, with its unique substance, is being homogenized by the hordes who visit. The small bulwark of original Venetians (small because most decedents can’t afford to live here anymore) don’t want changes forced upon them. Would you? They have so little left, it’s all gone to the constant invasion. Who the heck are rich foreigners to invade and impose changes. That is the worst sort of tourism.
    How dare you.

  16. MARINE Says:

    Hi Cyn,
    My message was to respond to another person, a certain Nelly I do not see the reply anymore. I don’t know why my message came up here. No offence to anyone please. I have been reading lots of messages against Alex from people NOT having a clue of what the story is about. I feel sorry for you all. Just look a You tube and type “gondoliere” and see what the nice italian traditional “real” gondoliers say to tourists: makes me throw up. That’s the image of Venice? my applause to the “real” ma gondoliers! I am a foreigner living for more than 10 years in Venice. I can tell you foreigners that have decides to live in Venice, love Venice more then the venetian. If you ever decide to live here, Venice chooses who passes the test. Everything is very difficult here. You work 10 times more then any local persons to be accepted in any way. Every day is an exam. Alex has past the last 12 years trying to be part of the group. at the beginning, she was accepted by the gondoliers then something changed. a word from the “bosses” made the behaviours change. From the outside, it all seams a certain way: a horrible foreign woman that wants to do a venetian traditional “man” job. From the inside, that’s not how it happened! There has been a LOT of work and passion here, no one can judge that unless he/she has seen and felt it in it’s own skin.

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