Elena Costantini and Elisa Costantini
after winning the 2018 Regata de la Sensa.
photo courtesy of Row Venice
One of my very favorite businesses in Venice is one that breaks boundaries in many directions.
Founded and operated almost entirely by women,
Row Venice has a two-pronged approach:
1. teach people to row
2. support and encourage female competitors
It might sound simple, but there's so much going on at Row Venice.
The first boundary they break is that of experiencing Venice.
Visitors typically walk around, take passenger boats, and try to get a gondola cruise. In each boating situation - they are passengers.
What Row Venice does, is instruct their clients in the remarkable art of Venetian rowing, allowing them to actually row the boat. It's an incredible way to not only see Venice, but to experience it. Take a lesson with them and you'll see parts of Venice that might not be so crawling with tourists, you'll see things from the water, and unlike motorized rides, you'll get to experience this beautiful city at a much more relaxing pace.
Clients come away with great memories, a new skill, and some photos that are way better than the typical tourist snaps.
A client rows in front,
his family ride and snap photos,
and the instructor prepares to snap one as well.
The Row Venice instructors have given lessons to students of three high schools in the area - all for free.
Row Venice has also provided boats and instructors during clean up efforts to try and keep Venice plastic free.
Oh, and when they're not teaching - these women race!
I first saw the Row Venice team in action at the Regata di Burano in 2015.
Nereo Zane, Simon Atkins and I were there to watch it all happen.
I saw Nena Almansi at the Pre-Race Huddle in a Row Venice shirt.
Over the years Row Venice has sponsored women in races throughout the Veneto and even the Regata circuito VIP (national competitions).
So when you step on a Row Venice boat, you're getting a lesson from a serious rower, often someone who's won or placed in a recent regata.
Luigina (left) and Jane (the woman who started it all)
Celebrating after a race.
I think the best part of it all though, is that Row Venice takes a large portion of the income they generate...and puts it back out there in support of voga-alla-Veneta, especially for women.
As the father of daughters, I love this.
The pupparin race in Burano.
As I mentioned above, Row Venice supports women in rowing competitions.
Many of these women train all year for these regatas. Some work as instructors as well. But athletes at the top level of any sport, unless given a professional-level paycheck, rely on sponsorship.
Romina and Maika on an orange pupparin in Burano.
Recently Row Venice published a statement which outlines the levels which they've gone to support women in this fantastic sport.
Please, click on the link and read it here:
Thank You 25,000 times!
While Row Venice has been supporting and giving back for years,
for the first time they are sharing the actual numbers.
Bravo, Row Venice!
The world needs more of this type of thing.