Venice gondolas are now limiting the number of passengers they can carry, a move considered necessary by gondoliers due to “overweight tourists”.
Earlier, a gondola da nolo that takes tourists on a tour of the city’s famed canals carried up to six people. The bigger gondola da parade, on the other hand, used to take up to 14 passengers across the Grand Canal. Now, the number of passengers has been reduced to five and 12 respectively.
Raoul Roveratto, the president of the Association of Substitute Gondoliers told Italian daily La Repubblica, “Tourists are overweight,” leading to the decision to lower capacity.
Andrea Balbi, president of Venice’s Gondoliers Association, was quoted as saying by The Guardian, “It’s true that compared to 10 or 15 years ago, tourists weigh a bit more.”
“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,” Balbi added.
Currently, there are about 433 gondoliers operating on Venice’s waterways.
Besides, gondoliers can now pass their license to their children directly without having to take a theory exam on history and knowledge of foreign languages. The decision has been taken in a bid to protect the profession from outsiders, reported Independent. So now, the next generation just has to prove they know how to row a gondola and have at least four years of experience on the family boat.
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