Relevant, passionate and fiercely devoted to the arts: these words are used to describe Gage Academy of Art, a fine art school in Seattle that...
Attorney Alan Macina began his litigation career in a criminal defense firm, but he had already had his eye on becoming a gondolier, and actually began practicing his gondola skills while in law school. Piloting a gondola has been the lawyer’s hobby and passion since 2001.
“I knew in law school, when I interned, that I wanted to be a criminal defense lawyer, it got my blood pumping. I felt it was a very important calling and exciting,” said Macina. “In the end, justice is done, but vigilance is necessary to insure that people do not suffer unnecessarily.”
He added that there may be people who have been accused of crimes who may not have committed those crimes. The lawyer feels that he is in a helping profession, working in a society helping accused people. He has worked for catholic charities, immigration services and spent time in Chile doing defense law. “It wasn’t only exciting, it was important, and I have always felt that I was helping people,” he concluded.
“While in law school, I also learned how to row a gondola, which is different than just rowing in general,” he said. According to Macina, much training is involved because Venetian rowing, the art of rowing a gondola, takes lots of practice, not to mention being diligent in providing safety to clients and preventing damage to the gondola. It is not as tricky here in the States as it is in Venice, according to Macina.
Although quite skilled, the humble lawyer gives much credit to Venetian gondoliers who he says, “are a level above and very professional.” Macina attests to the fact that it takes great skill to maneuver a 13 liter boat through the narrow canals of Venice. He said it takes “lots of daily practice, for many years,” adding that for Venetians, gondolas are their cars. In fact, he related that he saw elderly couples going out for quiet, evening rides adding that Venetians use them for their exercise benefits as well.
Originally from Florida, Macina stated that he moved here “chasing” his girlfriend who he met in the Peace Corp and later became his wife. Both Macina’s wife and grandfather are originally from the Puglia district of Italy. This fact enabled him to obtain his recent dual citizenship. He has also lived in Italy, and since both husband and wife speak fluent Italian, they have naturally taught their two children how to speak the language.
The Macinas met in West Africa, while serving there in the Peace Corp. From there they travelled to Venice where he found himself very much in love with his soon-to-be wife and entranced by the Venetian gondolas and gondoliers. When he returned to the States he began his gondolier adventure at Lake Merritt, California. This is a large tidal lagoon in the center of Oakland, east of the downtown area.
Gondola services are offered on the lake. While there he heard of the gondola service at the Cays. “Having had experience in Venice, I knew I had to row,” stated the lawyer, adding “after all, once a gondolier, always a gondolier.” He was on the phone to the owner of the Gondola Company the next day.
In 2002, Macina and his wife took their honeymoon in Venice where he joined a rowing club there. He related that the standard gondola in Venice was historically a cargo boat. Some were covered boats and were often used by royalty. A standard gondola can haul 8,000 pounds of cargo and can be easily maneuvered in the narrow canals by the experienced Venetian gondoliers. Their design has remained the same for hundreds of years and use a different style of rowing than conventional rowing techniques.
“San Diego has everything I need,” said Macina who has a condominium in Little Italy. He rows for The Gondola Company, in Coronado at the Cays which he states provides a “passport to Italy” and encourages boaters to “indulge in all the magic and tradition of Venice, right here in San Diego.” Macina said the Cays offers calm water, beautiful homes to view and gorgeous sunsets.