It appears that Venice's macho Gondolieri - much fabled in Gilbert and Sullivan as the gay gondolieri but that's another story - are up in arms. These men's men of the canals - I've included a few pictures taken on a vacation back in 2000 to show just how macho these boys are and 'cause hell beefcake is beefcake - are horrified that a woman is attempting to break into their manly domain. Alexandra Hai - a foreigner and a "gasp" woman - has won the "limited" right to navigate through the waterways of la Serenissima.
An article in today's NYTimes quotes one veteran gondolier as saying "Let's leave one tradition intact." And Venice is a city that loves its traditions. However you will notice that none of these gentlemen are wearing the traditional straw boater with the long flowing streamers - guess it just isn't manly and besides it would get in the way of those traditional Armani sunglasses!