Sunday, September 16, 2007

Romantic Job Openings in Venice

Diana Dors in her mink bikini being looked after by one of Venices' Finest Gondalieros

Apparently one of the most exclusive clubs in the world, the 1,000 year old Gondaliers Guild in Venice is opening up a little.

The City of Venice awards only 425 gondolier licences and there are years of apprenticeship and a major exam to pass before one has any hope of entering La Categoria (the gondolier guild).

The medieval roots of the gondolier reach into the 21st century, with only two clear routes into the trade. "You are either born into it or racolto (lifted up) or trova (found) by another gondolier, as I was," explains Giovanni.

Gondoliers' exam results are published in the local paper, littered with "sons of" and "brother ofs", hinting at why it is almost impossible for a non-Venetian to penetrate the clam-tight guild.

The same applies if you are a woman - though a gondolier's widow is allowed to employ a substitute on her husband's license for two years, or until her son is old enough to enter the guild.

I think I will stick with the devil you know. I had a hard time operating a punt with a lady in it and doubt that I could pass the test.


Dr. James P. Holdren said...

Great post - very interesting things I knew not of. by the way, give us the good oil on that lady in the punt.

Colin Campbell said...

Is she not more your generation James? I had to look her up on Wikipedia.

Colin Campbell said...

Reading your comment again, I thought you were talking about Diana Dors. LOL. The lady in the punt was my first wife in the early days before I went to America. We were both a bit drunk, it was hot, it was challenging. Very scenic and fun all the same.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Nice post. I didn't know all that about the gondaliers' exams. Doesn't Dors [or your first wife] look so much better than the size zeros of today? DD was a very fine actress, btw.