WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Venice gondola tours’ capacity has been reduced from 6 to 5 persons for small boats and from 14 to 12 persons for large boats.
- Gondoliers have noticed that tourists are now heavier, making their boats take in water which makes it dangerous to traverse the canals.
- Together with the new loading capacity policy, a new one is to allow children of current gondola operators to inherit their licenses.
Italy’s Venice gondola tours are reducing the number of people who can ride on their boats due to an increase in overweight tourists, according to the Guardian.
Andrea Balbi, President of Venice Gondolier Association said, “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.
Small boats now carry only 5 passengers instead of 6, and the Grand Canal bigger boats now only accept 12 passengers from 14.
Raoul Roveratto, the president of the association of substitute gondoliers, bluntly described the situation saying, “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 enter. Advancing with over half a ton of meat on board is dangerous.”
With just a 5-passenger capacity, the smaller gondolas that take in a sixth passenger would have to sit in an unpadded section.
Together with the capacity limits is the policy for children to inherit their gondola business from their parents as being a gondolier is passed on from one to another family member. Difficult exams that have foreign language studies and history as subjects no longer have to be taken and passed by their children before being allowed to operate.
All that they need now is proof that they have four years of operating experience and to demonstrate their rowing skills.
This new policy makes certain that the current 433 gondoliers and 180 substitute gondoliers get to maintain the business within themselves.
Balbi says, “It is about continuing a tradition. Who better than a gondolier can know the trade of a gondolier? … it would be like a pizza maker who isn’t from Naples.”
Source: The Guardian