Back in 2009, Giorgia Boscolo was officially appointed as the first female gondolier in Venice, ending 900 years of male domination in this ancient profession.
But, another female had her eyes set on this prize. She is Alexandra Hai, who did not pass muster, despite having spent 12 years trying to become a gondolier. Although she has failed the gondoliers’ test several times, she won a court battle to be allowed to ferry hotel guests without an official licence, and is now employed by a hotel in Venice to do just this.
One day, I caught a fleeting glance of Ms Hai, in her distinctive white uniform, accompanying a hotel guest. I haven’t seen her in her gondola, Pegaso. Maybe next visit it’ll happen.