The Real Gondoliers of Venice

The one thing probably EVERYONE knows about Venice is about the Gondoliers. Well I can tell you, they do in fact exist!

I didn’t take a gondola ride myself, because even the cheapest were 80 euros, but plenty of gullible romantic tourists opt for the typical Venetian experience, which means that lots of cheapskate single skeptical tourists get to stand on the canal bridges and watch the show!

They’re a special breed of guy – maybe it comes from wearing a costume all day, particularly one that involves tight pants and muscle-hugging shirts… And of course the adorable hats to complete the ensemble.

I swear this isn’t posed. They really were just standing like this…

The prices for gondola rides start at around 80 euro, and go about as high as you’re willing to pay. The basic ride for two would be one of these guys silently pushing you around the canals in a long black boat for a half hour. But gondola rides are like cars, where you can keep adding luxury features. Or like salads, where you can keep adding toppings (75 cents for veggies, 25 cents extra dressing, $1.00 for avocado or toasted almonds, $3.00 for a piece of grilled chicken or salmon… etc.) For instance, you’re gondolier can sing to you. Ka-ching. Or there can be another guy in the boat playing the accordion. Ka-ching. Or your gondola could have a sun-roof and red and gold velvet cushions upon which you and your lover husband recline and sip champagne while you feed each other fresh Adriatic oysters… Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.

(That song, by the way, is a Neapolitan tarantella. In case you ever need to bust out that trivium at a cocktail party.)

One of the more pimped-out gondolas

And the gondolieri aren’t bad singers, either. Venetians are generally good at music, I’ve found. Unfortunately, I don’t have a video of an actual singing gondolier (ran out of room on my memory card… darn), but here instead is a picture of some Venetian opera singers singing a duet from Don Giovanni:

They were singing “La ci darem la mano.” Super cute. For your own edification, watch this version with Bryn Terfel. It’s the closest Mozart ever gets to soft-core pornography. It should be pretty obvious, but… the duet is about him seducing her.

And yes, the chamber ensemble is decked-out in 18th century costume as well.

I will remember Venice fondly, for sure. Not the exhausting heat and the soul-sucking crowds, but the costumes and the music and the novelty of the canals, which really are as beautiful as everyone says!



2 thoughts on “The Real Gondoliers of Venice

  1. jumpingpolarbear says:

    The price kind of takes the romance away from it :).

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