Last Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI was visiting Venice and was rowed on the Grand Canal in a gondola. Prior to his outing, there was an argument within the gondolier community which gondoliers was actually going to take him around. It seems to be a great honour to row the Pope in your gondola. One gondolier was out of question by veritable being a woman – one of 425 gondoliers in Venice. So, 424 more to go – whom to pick?
Aldo Reato, who is the head of the gondoliers, had a good solution, I think, when he told Il Gazzettino: “I’ve had enough. It’s a shame the Pope can’t row the gondola himself, otherwise I would have given him an oar and he could have gone himself.”
Eventually, Pope Benedict XVI picked two pairs, the brothers Bruno and Francesco Dei Rossi, whose father Albino rowed the late Pope John Paul II during his visit to Venice in 1985. The other two were Gianpaolo D’Este and Igor Vignotto, are two well-known gondoliers in the Venice regattas. Read an article about the row to row the Pope here.