How to become a gondolier

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

How to become a gondolier

Discover what you need to become a gondolier and ride a gondola

How to become a gondolier is one of the most question all the tourist ask me every time, and today i’ll explain step by step what you need to become a real gondolier and the history of this profession.
At the time of the Republic of Venice, the barcaioli (boatmen) and the gondolieri (gondoliers) were part of the “fraglia dei barcaioli” in english we can translate as “guild of boatmen” an association with whom considered themselves ‘brothers ferry‘. The head of the association was the “GASTALDO” like a steward. Then things got a little changed, the management and smooth running of the ferry were assigned to one or more officers, called “bancai”, which must also be held accountable Municipal Office. Among the tasks of the ‘bancai‘ there was the task of enforcing discipline among the gondoliers. They had therefore the function of internal police.

Gondole di Venezia - Diventare un Gondoliere
Gondole di Venezia – Diventare un Gondoliere

From 1926 to 1959, the ‘bancai’ were elected at the Command Brigade and remained in office for a years. Today, however, the ‘bancal’ no longer a decision as to disciplinary regulations currently in force a municipality. For a long time the license necessary to practice the profession of gondolier was issued by the Municipal Authority. This license could be handed down from father to son, but many obtained it by practicing a long apprenticeship as a ‘replacement’ of an old gondolier who had no son or if he had not were interested in this job. At the death of the license holder came back in the hands of the municipality that assigned to the first name on the list of suitors. To be included in this list had to pass a qualifying examination, “la prova del remo” translated is “the proof of the oar”. The work for the first time a replacement was particularly hard, since serving in the suburbs where earnings were reduced and in most of the gains had to deliver to the widow of the old gondolier for the hire of the vessel.


Bancai Venezia - Diventare Gondoliere
Bancai Venezia – Become a Gondolier

Then obtained the license became a real gondolier, operating as ferries more and more exclusive. Nowadays, however, to become a gondolier, aspiring professionals must follow the gondola schools, where there are courses that include the study of a foreign language, notions of history of Venice and of Venetian art. The aspiring gondolier must be of age and after the training course must pass an exam of competition declared by the Ente Gondola. Passed the competition will be entered in the role of the gondoliers. This is followed by an internship at a professional gondolier, from 6 to 12 months. After the apprenticeship must take a practical examination in the presence of 5 judges gondoliers. Passed the exam on neo gondolier get the license. This profession is not more practiced only by men but also by women. The first gondolier in fact is called Giorgia Boscolo, and has been licensed in 2010 Despite opposition from the other gondoliers for a craft dominated by men, Giorgia crowned instead his dream to become a gondolier like his father.

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