How To Become a Gondolier

It is a very common thing for newlywed couples on their honeymoon, or perhaps just any couple vacationing, to take a ride on the waters of Venice, in a flat bottomed, long length gondola. A gondola ride is considered by many to be one of the most romantic ideas and activities for couples everywhere. The person who rides along with you and steers the gondola in the direction down the route it is supposed to go is known as the gondolier. To become a gondolier is a very challenging process, with steep and intense competition. In fact, there are only about 400 licensed gondoliers in Venice, because the training requires perfection at all times.

If possible, it would be a very good idea to find a mentor who is willing to help tutor you in your journey to become a gondolier and teach you some of the different things that one must know to succeed. This step is technically optional but can prove to be very helpful in the long run. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, the competition is steep and intense, which means that finding someone who is willing to help tutor you can be a very challenging process alone.

The next step is to find a school in which they will teach you about how to perfectly maneuver the gondola. Perhaps the most famous place to attend for this sort of thing is the critically acclaimed Academy of Gondoliering in Venice. After all, there is no better place to learn about becoming a gondolier than right in Venice itself!

Unanimously the most important step in this whole process is to dedicate your life to becoming a gondolier. That is, practice, practice, practice! If you cannot pass the exam without absolute precision and perfection, you will more than likely fail the exam. Get a good workout to build upper body strength, as steering and directing the gondola takes more than a little strength; it is quite physically demanding of the gondolier. All in all, though, you must practice at all costs. Do not expect this to happen overnight; in order to navigate a gondola perfectly and with absolute expertise, practice could take anywhere between a couple of months to a few years.

Finally, take the exam. You are to navigate a gondola that houses judges from the Gondolier Association. In order to pass the exam, you must perfectly navigate the gondola down the canals of Venice without bumping into walls, showing you know how to back it up or getting it off the sandbar. If you make the slightest mistake, chances are you will likely fail the exam.

If you fail the exam, do not be discouraged! It is an extremely difficult exam that many have failed before. Just continue to practice and then retake your exam. Once you have passed, not only can you can go ahead and get yourself one of the few issued licenses in Venice, but you can also have the pride in telling people that you were capable enough to become a gondolier.


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