That’s how many women are trying to enter the gondoliers’ school in Venice this year. The Arte del Gondoliere trains potential gondoliers before they take the test for a substitute gondolier license that allows them to share a gondola and space at the traghetto with a fully licensed gondolier.
Currently only one woman holds a gondolier’s license in Venice–Giorgia Boscola. But that could change dramatically. Eight women are applying to the school, and it looks like they all have the chops to make it in and pass their exams. Five of them come from the Row Venice Association: President Jane Caporal, rowing teacher Lisa Dunk, and rowing champs Giulia Tagliapietra, Elena Almansi, and Angelica Villegas Alban.
Here’s an article from Venezia Today with details (in Italian).
These women have been rowing for years, and teaching rowing as well as participating in events like the regattas, Regatta Storica, and Vogalonga. In the course, they’ll also learn art history and languages in order to share their knowledge of the city with tourists.
Probably the biggest obstacle is that there is a limited number of licenses available, so it really is a contest of who does best in the various tests. Or at least it should be. Hopefully these women will have an equal opportunity amongst their male colleagues to grasp that license.