Published On: Thu, Dec 7th, 2023

Venice gondola capsizes as tourists refuse to stop taking selfies and stay still | World | News

A small group of tourists fell into a murky and cold canal in Venice, northern Italy, reportedly after ignoring the orders of their gondolier.

A video widely circulating online shows tourists looking distressed and soaking wet while swimming and holding on for dear life near a capsized gondola. 

One of the women slowly swims towards another gondola and, seeking help, tries to lift herself to enter the small boat.

The gondola the tourists were initially aboard of capsized in Rio de la Verona, a canal close to the famous La Fenice theatre, according to Italian media. 

The incident is believed to have been caused by the tourists themselves after they failed to heed an order to stop moving around the gondola and taking selfies while the gondolier was attempting to navigate under one of the many low bridges in Venice. 

To safely complete a similar manoeuvre, the gondolier needed his passengers to remain still and keep the gondola properly balanced.

But, too keen on the views and capturing Venice on camera, the tourists reportedly failed to listen to him and ended up in the freezing water.

While the water level is relatively low in small canals, the tourists were likely weighed down by the heavy winter clothes they were wearing. 

The gondolier, who also ended up in the water, was filmed in a separate video rescuing each one of his passengers.

Gondolas and their pilots are among the most recognisable sightings in Venice. Tourists and locals who want to see the Venetian canals from the water can pay for a 30-minute traditional trip on a gondola “da nolo”.

Since November 1, a trip on a gondola can cost between €80 to €90 (£68 to £77) during the day and €100 and €110 (£85 and £94) for 35-minute trips during the evening. 

Since 2020, each gondola da nolo can carry a maximum of five people – one less than in previous years.

The decision to reduce the capacity of gondolas was made by Venice’s gondoliers association, led by Andrea Balbi, due to a perceived increase in the weight of tourists.

Mr Balbi said at the time: “It’s true that compared with 10 or 15 years ago, tourists weigh a bit more.”

The number of people that can be carried on the bigger gondolas “da parada” was also reduced from 14 to 12. 

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