Gondoliers in the grand canal of Venice

Gondoliers In Venice; Gotta Love ’em

Aside from the stately architecture sitting on the cool canals, a big part of Venice’s charm is its gondolas and their gondoliers. I was fascinated watching the gondoliers in Venice!

busy gondoliers in Venice
Piazza San Marco, Venice

They Make it Look So Easy

The gondolas slide through the canals in Venice so effortlessly, but I’m sure it’s not as easy as for the gondoliers as it seems. 

I did see one gondolier that got his pole stuck on the outside of a bridge he just passed. He really had to struggle to get it free with the current pulling the gondola further away.

Mostly, the gondoliers in Venice are pretty nonchalant and talk a lot while they are working.

Gondolas in the Grand Canal had more of a challenge (image below). Here they have to compete with the waves from all the boats and ferries. The guy below is really working hard!

Gondoliers cruising in Venice
Gondoliers in the grand canal of Venice
Gondolier in Grand Canal

There were as many as 10,000 gondolas in Venice in the 16th century, but there are only about 400 today…mostly just for tourists. I’m sure that working with tourists all day adds in some frustration as well. 🙂

Gondoliers in Venice in the grand canal
Gondoliers in Grand Canal

Think It’s Easy to Become a Gondolier?

Surprisingly not! Competition to be a Gondolier in Venice is tough. Hundreds apply every year, but only 3-4 are selected for a license. You really have to be the best to make it.

Making it look effortless, while keeping an eye out for our Vaporetto…!

Those that do make it, get paid about $150,000 USD/year, which incidentally isn’t enough to rent a decent apartment here. And they work hard, I saw these guys at the end of the day, they looked pretty beat.

You can also row your own gondola in Venice, to see what it’s really like. Click here to find out how to do this.

Tired gondoliers in Venice
Tired Gondoliers 

Did You Know Gondolas Are Standardized?

Did you ever notice that all the gondolas are built exactly the same on the outside? I didn’t until I read that fact. There are actually strict guidelines for design. In addition, the exterior must be black. Only the inside can vary, thus the colorful seats…

Gondolas waiting for tourists
Gondolas Waiting For Tourists

Other Top Spots In Italy

Rome is a must visit in Italy. The Colosseum, ancient archeological sites, rich history, impressive architecture, and food are top notch, making this one of the world’s top travel destinations. About 3 hours north of Rome is Florence, home of Michelangelo’s David, the Iconic Duomo, and a multitude of Renaissance art. Another must-visit place in Italy.

Heading south of Rome, the ruins of Pompeii and Hurculaneum, are less than a 3 hour drive. One of the world’s top archeological sites, it’s fascinating to wander the streets and homes frozen in time almost 2,000 years ago. This is one of my all time favorite places!

South of Pompeii, highlights include the idyllic beauty of the famed Amalfi coast. And, from there, the jaw-dropping beauty of Capri, is just a ferry ride away.

Sicily, off the tip of Italy’s boot, is full of fascinating cities and sites. While the lovely Aeolian islands are scattered north of it. They’re fun to ferry between and explore one-by-one. I explored a few and hiked up the volcanic island of Stromboli for some adventure.

In Italy’s northwest, Cinque Terre is the perfect option. You can visit, and hike, between the 5 charming villages. The vistas from each are truly spectacular. Sometimes dubbed the ”sixth” village of Cinque Terre, Portovenere, is a perfect add-on.

Further north is the port town of Genoa. This melting pot city was the birthplace of both Christopher Columbus and Pesto Pasta, which I thought I didn’t like until I tried the REAL version.

Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

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