15 Aug 2010

Licence granted to female gondolier in Venice

6:02 am on 15 August 2010

Venice has granted a full licence to a female gondolier for the first time in more than 800 years.

Giorgia Boscolo, 24, a daughter of a gondolier, has passed a year-long series of practical and written tests.

She joins the formerly all-male Venetian gondoliers guild and can now officially row tourists through the city's narrow canals and the lagoon.

The BBC reports Mrs Boscolo, a mother of two, soon hopes to have her own gondola tied up in front of St Mark's Basilica.

Deputy mayor Sandro Simionato admits there has been "excessive male domination" inside the guild which numbers 425 members and jealously guards its ancient traditions and skills.

Even now, Mrs Boscolo can only stand in for a male colleague if he takes a day off.

Gondola fares start from 40 euros ($US50) for a 20-minute ride.