Tuesday, April 18, 2017

VENICE 2017: The Gondolas and Gondoliers

There's just waaaaaaaay too much to show-n-tell about Venice (and Verona) without tackling it willy-nilly, if you don't mind, going with whatever strikes my fancy in the moment.

In this case, it's the gondolas and gondoliers.  Since we saw them every day in Venice, it makes sense to make a separate post of just them, to give them context.

First of all, our mode of transportation throughout the week was by vaporetto/waterbus.
At €60 each for 7 days, we could hop on-n-off at any time, anywhere.
That's when we saw most of the gondoliering in action...passing them while on the vaporettos.

We're talking about on the Grand Canal, of course.
It's 4 km long and can handle a lot of gondolas.

You'd expect certain landmarks, like the Piazza San Marco, being the gondola hubs.
The gondoliers thrive on tourist attention at such places.

It's hard to miss them.

But they're also at lesser-known stops...

lying in wait.

I suppose it's like taking care of one's car?

Except for when it rains and you have no customers.
But you still have to protect your asset!

The maneuvering comes with practice, of course.
Practice makes perfect?

Speaking of which, traffic can be a challenge, even if you're talking only about the gondolas.
But of course, the gondolas have to share the Grand Canal with everyone. 

On our walk of the Accademia area we just happened upon the squero/gondola boatyard,
next to the Church of San Trovaso, the only place where gondolas are now made and repaired.
In Venice's heyday, 16th century, there were 10,000 elegant gondolas plying its waters.
Today there are 350-ish, from a profession passed on from father to son.

And daughter?  We also happened upon this female gondolier,
one of two official female gondoliers in Venice now, she said.
To become a gondolier, you have to be licensed, passing theory and practice exams.
It's considered a high honor.

Someone asked us the other day if we did anything romantic while in Venice.
In a past life, I did, in fact, have a gondola ride...at night.
But Astrid and I had no inclination to treat ourselves.  Just call us cheap (at €80/30 min.)?
Or maybe it's just that we really did have more fun watching...instead of being watched!

[In case you want to know more about gondolas and gondoliers, you can read it here.]


  1. Love the photo groupings you did, Ginnie.

    I can imagine it is an honour to be a gondolier with all the tourism they promote through their work. Yay for women as gondoliers. They would do a great job I think.

    1. Thank you, Marie. I actually think Astrid would make a FABULOUS gondolier, just to say she did it. But she would NOT like some of the congestion we saw from time to time...and we weren't even there in high season!.

  2. I know so well Venice where I see very well all the places which you photographed. It is the city so beautiful and that I so like. Thank you for all these beautiful photos Ginnie

    1. You always give me a great smile with your comments, Marie. Thank you.

  3. Thank you for the information as well as the visuals for this post!

  4. When you say Venice, you say gondoliers. It was so fun to see them 'in action', too bad thought that most of them were not 'in full costume'... I am glad that the lady gondolier did wear one. What a great post to show how they do it, not a job for me, too hectic I think especially in high season...
    It is fun to have this post, it gives a nice view upon the well known trade og the gondoliers... I did not hear the 'oh sole mio though ;) IHVJ

    1. You would do an excellent job maneuvering such a boat, Astrid, but as an introvert, you'd definitely have a problem with the hustle-n-bustle of that place. I'm so glad you know your limits!

  5. Well I think you two made the perfect decision to just "watch!" It's something that you do once...but like you...I'd much rather take in the scene than be "in it!' There are some amazing images within your posting...well all of them...but some really stand out from the others! Well done my dear!

    1. I would have gladly paid for the experience for Astrid if she had had any inclination for it, Robin, but she didn't. So it made sense to just observe! Thank you for your kind words. You'll see some of the individual images again, I'm sure. :)

  6. gah, all those BOATS haha, you know me... i liked their boat parking lots, take up minimum water space, rather than boats sideways against docks reaching out into the canals... i was surprised to hear about females doing it, that's pretty cool, but of course i think there should be more :)

    1. I doubt if there's such a thing as a gondola houseboat, Elaine, so I think you're safe. HA! Since the fathers pass on this profession to their sons, it makes sense that one father along the way, WITHOUT ANY SONS, decided to buck the trend. Or maybe the female did it for him, nagging him to death till he let her do it??? I could picture Astrid doing that. HA! The first one was licensed in 2010, so it was a long time coming.