Venice Limits Number Of People Per Gondola; Complaining Tourists Have Gotten FAT

by Drishti
Venice Limits Number Of People Per Gondola; Complaining Tourists Have Gotten FAT

Venice’s gondoliers have reduced the limit of passenger intake aboard their boats, owing to the burden brought on by overweight tourists. Previously, ‘a gondola da nolo‘ (a small boat hired to tour around Venice’s iconic canals) could take in six passengers at a time. On the other hand, the ‘gondola da parade’ (a bigger boat that crosses the Grand Canal) could take in 14 passengers at a time. Now, the numbers have been lowered to five and 12, respectively.

Average Weight Of Tourists Has Increased Over The Years

The decision to reduce the capacity of passengers comes in the wake of flooding boats. Apparently, gondoliers feel this is caused by an increase in the average weight of tourists. Andrea Balbi, president of Venice’s gondoliers association, told The Guardian, “It’s true that compared to 10 or 15 years ago, tourists weigh a bit more.” He explained, “Unlike in a lift, where there’s a message that says ‘only six people or a maximum weight’, we don’t have scales to weigh people, and so we reduced the number of passengers.”

Venice Gondolas

Also Read: Rowing For A Cause: Women Deliver Groceries To Elderly In Venice Via Gondolas

Raoul Roveratto, the president of the association of substitute gondoliers, told Italian newspaper La Repubblica in a plain-spoken manner, “Tourists are now overweight. From some countries, bombs load [on to the boats]. And when [the boat] is fully loaded, the hull sinks and water enters. Advancing with over half a tonne of meat on board is dangerous.”

Protecting The Tradition Of Gondoliers

Eligibility rules to become a gondolier have also been changed to keep the trade exclusively centred around gondolier families. Aspiring gondoliers can now inherit their father’s prestigious license directly. This eliminates the need to take a theoretical exam that assesses their knowledge about the history and foreign languages. They are primarily required to showcase their gondola rowing skills. They also need four years’ experience of operating a family-owned vessel to enter the trade. Currently, the profession that has been Venice’s pride comprises 433 gondoliers and 180 substitute gondoliers.

Also Read: The Ultimate Italy Trip: A Detailed 10-Day Itinerary For Rome, Venice & Florence

“It is about continuing a tradition,” Balbi further told The Guardian. “Who better than a gondolier can know the trade of a gondolier? The canals, the buildings, the city’s history … the gondolier world is unique, there are only 433 of us, and finding someone from Paris, New York or any other city would not be a continuation of tradition – it would be a like a pizza maker who isn’t from Naples.”

Venice Gondolas

Known as The City of Canals, and famed for its stunning architecture, Venice has always remained a popular destination for tourists around the world. The city is all set to welcome travellers again with open arms. The tourism industry in Italy suffered major setbacks due to the pandemic.