Monday, April 28, 2014

Venice's Gondoliers Row for Research

Regata dei Traghetti for the Fondazione Umberto Veronesi

 Criticism has been laid on the gondoliers' strong broad shoulders as far back as when they began rowing down Venice's beautiful canals. Comments which are often heard spoken in dialect by fellow Venetians—their most ardent critics or printed in the local press and more recently on social networks. Now, with the variety of instant communication sources, it’s no surprise that when a gondolier makes an error the world takes notice, too. Granted some critical comments have been warranted, others not so much and most are brought on by a minority of the 400-plus strong category. However, as with any group that works in the public eye, it is
Getting ready  
quite difficult for the majority of the gondoliers who abide by the rules to escape judgment based upon the actions of a few. Therefore, I think when all 400-plus gondoliers make a grand, generous and straight from the heart gesture that it is only right and proper to commend and applaud them.

Last Friday, April 25, 2014, the Association of Gondoliers dedicated their annual Regata dei Traghetti (a regatta between the 10 gondola stations) to the Fondazione Umberto Veronesi, a prominent and effective non-profit medical research foundation in Italy.

Not only did the gondoliers compete while wearing a striped t-shirt with the words Io Vogo per la Ricerca—I Row for Research—they pledged €30.000 (approx. $42,000) to fund the foundation’s “Gold for Kids” project. A first! Because in the ten years since 
Foundation supporters follow the regatta
the foundation began raising funds for cancer research, this is the first time one group has made such a large lump-sum contribution. It may also be the first contribution to go towards the foundation’s new “Gold for Kids” project which supports the most innovative pediatric oncology therapies and medical treatment available to children being cared for in hospitals throughout Italy.

The first place winners: Traghetto Molo/San Marco

The relationship between the Fondazione Umberto Veronesi, one of Italy’s most respected non-profit organizations, and the Gondoliers, the symbol of one of Italy’s most beloved cities, brings an exemplary initiative to life. A noble gesture that comes from the hearts of what I personally consider to be a noble group of people—a gesture that I hope might serve as an example for other associations, groups and individuals to follow.

Un grande grazie di cuore ai gondolieri di Venezia!

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