I gondolieri cantavano davvero il Tasso?
Both as pageantry and competitive events, regattas have fascinated Venetians and foreigners for centuries. Heroes are the gondoliers, celebrated since the Renaissance both as champions and as exemplary citizens of the Repubblica Serenissima. Over the centuries, innumerable poetic compositions have extolled the skills of the competitors, the enthusiasm of participants in general and the incredible scenes on the Grand Canal, specially decorated for occasions that were offered to the Signori (for whom they were conceived) and Venetians alike. Literary sources concerning regattas are here used to narrate the “constructed image” of the gondoliers and illustrate their response to this collective characterization. Paradigmatic, by way of summary, is the following question: did the gondoliers really sing Tasso?