2. That Gondolier Is Licensed to Row
It’s not easy to become a professional gondolier, so when you climb on board you will always be getting the real deal. It takes over 400 hours of training and apprenticeship to master the rowing, turning, slowing down, backstroke, and necessary stopping manoeuvres. Standing at the back of the boat, compensating for choppy waves, dodging speedboat traffic, snaking through narrow canals, limboing under bridges, kicking off walls – it all takes skill and balance. Singing is a bonus asset that not all gondoliers possess (ask first if you expect a serenade). Gondoliers have to pass a rigorous exam on Venetian history and landmarks and there are foreign language requirements too. It’s a noble profession that has been passed down from generation to generation and only 3 to 4 new gondolier licenses are granted annually.