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Boozy boatmen in Venice face alcohol tests

Boozy boatmen in Venice face alcohol tests
Gondoliers have been accused of drinking on the job in Venice. Photo: extraviam/Flickr

Gondoliers in Venice may be subjected to alcohol tests, following reports of rowdy behaviour on the city’s famous canals.

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Nicola Falconi, president of the Gondola Authority, has called for the new measure after tourists complained their gondoliers were “acting inappropriately”, local newspaper Il Gazzettino said.

“Controls are expected for all drivers in the transport sector. From those who work on the ferries to those on ships, on buses or flight pilots,” he said, La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre website reported. The gondoliers would not be exempt, he added.

Falconi is due to discuss the matter further with the authority’s management board on Monday, ahead of a meeting with the city’s transport councillor, Ugo Bergamo, the newspaper said. 

The move comes soon after a YouTube video was published - and hastily removed - showing the humiliating initiation of a ‘gansar’, who helps the gondoliers on the shore. The young man was told to swim naked in the water close to tourist hotspot Piazza San Marco, Il Gazzettino reported, prompting calls for action from city officials.

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