Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I Gondoleri

Venetian Stories In Venetian Stories, her book of interconnected short stories set in Venice, Jane Turner Rylands (who's very Venetian intrigues with the estates of Peggy Guggenheim and Ezra Pound are worthy of a book themselves) tells one story of a slightly over the hill Gondolier. Bruno has been rowing gawking tourists through the canals for 40 years - and as his body becomes thicker with age he tries desperately to live up to his nickname "Volpon" - the fox. Its rumoured that many of Rylands stories are thinly disguised portraits of people she knows in Venice - and may have scores to settle with. As we walked by the gondolieri - many of them aging like Bruno, I wondered which one of them had pissed Rylands off.

The Tyro and the Veteran
Two Gondolieri waiting to be called for work - some eye candy yes but again echoing Rylands' story - it really is a young man's job but what does someone do when they get too old?

This, of course, is the picture most of us have of the gondolieri - the gondola stand just off San Marco where tourists cough up the E150 for the 50 minutes ride.

There is a cheaper way of hoping a gondola ride, be it only for a few brief minutes. There are only three bridges crossing the Grand Canal between Santa Lucia train station and San Marco, so the practical solution is to boat it across. At seven points along the Canal there are traghetti stations. You hop on a traghetto - sometimes having to stand - give the gondolier the E1.00 ($1.45 CAD)(exact change only) and a minute later you on the other side. It certainly saves a great deal of walking... and money if all you want to say is that you've been on a gondola.

Traghetto at Santa SophiaTraghetto at Santa Sophia
The traghetto station at Santa Sophia is busy in the morning taking shoppers to and from the open air vegetable and fish market.

07 maggio - Santa Flavia


Doralong said...

I'm sure it's a tough job and all.. But it always seemed like such a terribly romantic thing to do, how could you go to Venice and not take a ride?

Anonymous said...

The guy in the red shirt could row my boat!!

sageweb said...

I would totally fall off the cheap version.

more cowbell said...

Oh hell yeah. I'm all for the 1euro version.

And I'm sorry, but anyone who can pull off horizontal stripes that well ... OK, maybe I'd go for the tourist ride.

Jeff said...

While I'm normally more blue than red, I could make an exception for a red gondolier.

Auld Hat said...

Oh it's so romantic and lovely...
(dreamy sigh. And yes, the eye candy didn't hurt)