Grit and Grazia: A Story of Venice, Voga, and a Few Unwavering Women

A documentary project of Living Venice e VIVA

Maria della Laguna

Posted on | October 27, 2008 | No Comments

This striking portrait, housed at the Museo Correr, is of Maria Boscola. Mother of five boys, she lived in Marina di Chioggia during the 1700’s, raising produce and rowing it regularly in caorlina (in the days before channel markers, mind you), where it would be sold at the the Rialto markets.

The banners she cradles are from five regate held during the period from 1740 – 1784. The first she won as a young woman; the last two, in which she was also victorious, took place in 1784, amost forty-five years later. After this last regata, women were not to race again for almost two hundred years. A record of Maria’s races and how she placed is painted in the lower left-hand corner of the portrait.

Earlier this month, we attended the presentation at the Marciana of a new novel about Maria and her life, Maria della laguna by Alda Monico. It’s fiction because, although Venice is known for its voracious record-keeping, there is very little record of the life of this fascinating female. Monico is also the author of Delitto al casìn dei nobili, a period mystery set in 1500 and featuring the famous cortesean Veronica Franca. 


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