I'm a big fan of keeping things positive here on the Gondola Blog.
You won't see many things here that denigrate another person or group of people.
I will make an exception today,
and in a moment you'll understand why.
This coming Thursday there will be a blessing on the steps of the church of Santa Maria della Salute - a tradition that goes back a very long time.
All of the rowers in the upcoming Regata Storica will be there,
with each two-man team aboard the gondolino that they will compete on
just three days later.
Yes, it's that time again.
The Regata Storica is right around the corner.
Nine sleek racing boats which are used each year for this race have been stored and maintained by the Commune di Venezia to be used in the ultimate rowing race through La Serenissima.
So far all the things I've said could describe what happens each year at this time.
And then it happened,
someone gained access to the gondolini that were stored and ready for launch on Friday, and amazingly, managed to chop seven of the nine boats in half with some sort of a saw.
Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.
Here are some images that have been circulating online.
For most folks, a series of questions come forth:
- What kind of person does this?!
- WHY would they do it?
- How in the world did they get away with it without being caught, or even seen doing it? As of this writing, nobody seems to know who did it or why.
There are many theories, but that's it.
The police are investigating this,
so it's probably just a matter of time before the truth comes out.
And of course there's the practical question...
- What can be done in this short period of time?
Imagine if the Superbowl could only be played with one particular football,
and someone put it into a woodchipper.
Here's where, if I had less self control,
I'd launch into a blistering tirade of filthy language.
But since my kids read the blog I'll just say this:
Take the very worst insults and foul language,
spin it up in a blender of rage, and give it a Soprano's-style delivery...
and THAT'S how I feel about the person or people who did this.
The Venetian spirit, however, is remarkable.
From the time their forefathers began building the foundations of the city,
Venetians have shown the world that they are survivors,
and they have a natural skill in adapting and overcoming.
See, at this moment, in a building on the island of Giudecca,
three masters of boatbuilding are working tirelessly to save the day.
Roberto Dei Rossi, Gianfranco Vianello "Crea" and Dino Tagliapietra have come together to put these remarkable boats back together in time for the blessing on Thursday.
And it won't just be a cosmetic patch job either.
The seven gondolini will be race-ready.
So on behalf of Venice and all of the fans of Venetian rowing around the world, there is one other thing I'd like to tell those cowards responsible for this disgraceful act:
I hope you enjoy watching the Regata Storica this year.
I know I will.