Venice’s famous gondoliers have blamed ‘overweight’ tourists for a reduction in the capacity of their boats.
The iconic boat rides through the city’s canals have had their capacity reduced from six to five people, while the larger gondola which traverse the Grand Canal has been reduced from 14 to 12 passengers.
“Tourists are now overweight. From some countries, bombs load [on to the boats],” Raoul Roveratto, the president of the association of substitute gondoliers told La Repubblica.
“And when [the boat] is fully loaded, the hull sinks and water enters. Advancing with over half a tonne of meat on board is dangerous.”
However, the president of Venice’s gondoliers’ association, Andrea Balbi, told The Guardian that while it is true that compared to 10 or 15 years ago tourists generally weigh more, the smaller gondolas were only designed for five people.
He said the increase in weight from a sixth person is causing the boats to take on water.
“So the sixth person ends up sitting in a place without a cushion as the boat was only made for five,” he said.
“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.”
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