Tuesday, February 23, 2010

18th c Venetian Woman Makes History...

Donna Russo Morin’s novel:  THE SECRET OF THE GLASS
You can say that I was inspired by reading  THE SECRET OF THE GLASS, Inspired by Venice, and finally VERY inspired by what’s going on in the world of sports…THE OLYMPICS! 
 So, I thought I’d write a post about a pretty remarkable Venetian sportswoman…
Maria Boscola da Marina
This lady, born in  18th century  Chioggia- part of the Venetian lagoon, was something short of extraordinary for those days.  Have you ever heard of the Regata?   It's one of the most impressive boat (gondola) races ever seen. 
The Regata started around the 14th century as official races for honorary events (example; to celebrate a new Doge, or for royal visits…that type of thing).  Along the centuries it did become a lot more extravagant- quite the event not to be missed.  Nowadays, in September, all of Venice attends the spectacular feast for the eyes, where tourists make it a point to visit specifically to revel in the historical event happening amidst the waters of La Serenissima.
The point to stress here is that although there was much repression in the early centuries, in Venice, this has never stopped bold, smart, strong and determined women to hold their own.  We’ve seen this in art, music, business and even in the art of love (ahhh those famous courtesans…)-but  a Venetian woman making it in sports as well?
Maria Boscola, in her everyday normal life, would tend to her family, grow her vegetables and make her weekly, or daily visit to the market to sell her produce.  That was not the only reason she typically ‘hung’ around the lagoon…
Maria Boscola was the fantastic and unsurpassed female rowing champion of the 18th c!!  She was a champion of the Regata for over 40 years! Renowned and famous all right!  There’s even a painting of her at the Museo Corer of Venice.  Yet, although much was written about her in  newspapers back then, including that she was the pride and joy of Venice…sadly, global research  on this great athlete is rather meek.  Considering  the hardships and insurmountable feats she must have had to go through just to be part of this event (she apparently had a large family of 5 or 6 children to raise…) it's more than just remarkable.
To celebrate the Olympics, Venice, and women of substance, I wanted to pay tribute to one outstanding Venetian lady who made her mark against all odds in a time and place where women hardly ever stood a chance.
Maria Boscola

The Regata


Here's another of the Regata



16 comments:

Arleigh said...

40 years?? Wow! And a large family to raise! She was quite a woman, I must say. I'm not really into the Olympics much (or sports) but I loved your post! We are learning so much about Venice!

Marie Burton said...

Wow that is so awesome about Maria.And a wonderful theme for you to tie all together as well. How beautiful that last picture is, I can understand why you you adore Venice, it looks so romantic and inviting.
Thanks for this blas from the unknown past, another wonderful thing learned from Lucy!

Pricilla said...

Thank you for the double education today; about the Regatta and about this extraordinary woman.

Susie Tudor Daughter said...

This was so interesting. What an amazing woman. Can you imagine how strong she was. I wonder what she wore for the race? Amazing post!

Muse in the Fog said...

How fascinating! Those pictures of The Regatta are beautiful...what an amazing thing to behold.

Donna said...

Fantastic story Lucy. Thank you for finding her and sharing this extraordinary woman's life with us.

Ms. Lucy said...

Thanks for all your comments Ladies! And-Thanks so much for taking the time to read my stuff- I love history and it's nice to know I can share it with like-minded people:)

Jenny Girl said...

What a great post! I so enjoy reading stories of historical women who are unknown to me. And shouldn't be! Great job Lucy :)

Rheanna said...

Marias triumphs are fascinating. I love strong women of history and I really enjoy your factual posts. I always find it fun to learn something new everyday!

librarypat said...

Fame is such a hard thing. Whoever controls the records, controls who will be remembered and how. It makes you wonder how many women and men who deserved to be recognized are lost to us. Thank you so much for bringing Maria's accomplishments to our attention. It is incredible that she was able to dominate the Regata for 40 years. Who of our current Olympic champions will ever be able to claim that.

Christine Trent said...

I bet all of that rowing got her baby weight off, fast! :)

You know, the more I learn about history, the more I realize that not every single woman in previous centuries was oppressed and tied down to the house. There were lots of women out there doing amazing things. And plenty of them were even very powerful, politically speaking.

I enjoyed hearing about this 18th century champion athlete. And the boats are gorgeous!

Ms. Lucy said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it Jenny Girl; she really was amazing! Thanks:)

Hi Rheanna, I'm like that too- I love learning about these strong women of the past. Thanks:)

Hi Librarypat:) I too was amazed at her being able to carrry this through for so long. And- you're not kidding about that control thing..still in vogue today.. Thanks:)

Hey Christine! I think about many historical women being quite the challenging types- I love that. so much submission though and it was so much easier to shut them out - or down. It really is amazing that they got to make history considering all that control.

About the baby fat- that's so true! But if you look carefully at her structure and arms, she looks very strong and athletic, don't you find?

Allie ~ Hist-Fic Chick said...

Great post topic, Lucy! I really enjoyed reading about Maria's triumphs. Especially after reading a novel where gender roles was a central theme! Love how you've posted this during the Olympics, and related it back to our event. Brilliant! :)

lizzy J said...

Well well I learned something new today. I had no idea about the Ragata. That is my kind of woman too.

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

That would be pretty impressive for a woman in this day and age, let alone back then. What an inspiring woman!

Anonymous said...

Hi, just wondering if you could possibly give us a brief outline of a stereotypical Venetian woman. If you could that would be wonderful! :) Thank you, and an excellent blog!