.- A man has rowed his gondola from Venice to Rome in an effort to raise money for African children and kids with rare diseases around the world.
"I'm pretty tired but it was worth it," said professional gondolier Vittorio Orlo after his craft was placed in a prominent location in St. Peter's Square ahead of a Wednesday audience with the Pope.
Orlo, 43, left Venice Sept. 2. He took 17 days to row along the Adriatic coast from Venice, before crossing Italy on a network of canals and rivers to the source of the Tiber and then to Rome, reported ANSA.
He thanked the coast guard for shepherding him through the choppy waters of the Adriatic Sea. The gondola is a flat-bottomed boat that is well suited to Venice's canals but not to the open sea.
Funds raised by the charity will help children in Togo, as well as research fund at a Venetian hospital that specializes in rare pediatric diseases.
Children suffering from some of those ailments were on hand with their families to see Orlo's gondola arrive.