What does a Venetian “ragazzo” do to impress his “ragazza”?

Cruising in a motor-boat (photo by Elsie esq. - CC-BY)

Even if you don’t understand any Italian, you probably guessed correctly that a “ragazzo” is a young male and that his “ragazza” could be his girlfriend. One cannot generalize, of course, just as one cannot generalize about what young males elsewhere in the world do to impress girls.

In many parts of the world, however, when young males get their driver’s license, they think an automobile—the sportier the better—is what turns a girl’s head. They rev up the motor and go “cruising”, usually with the radio/CD turned up.

In Venice, ragazzi (plural) do not have cars, of course, but some who have a motor boat—also the sportier the better—really do go cruising. Like their landlocked cousins, they rev up the motor and turn up the sound system so it can be heard over the sound of the motor—and 200 yards away—and ignore the 7 km/h speed limit in the channel.

One wonders what young men did before technology gave them the means show off with speed and loud music. It was all more sedate when the musical Oklahoma opened in 1943, set in 1906. The Midwestern “ragazzo” rented the finest carriage money could buy, “The Surrey with a Fringe on Top”.

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