The number of passengers allowed at one time aboard the iconic gondolas of Venice is being reduced from six people to five.¬†
It sounds like a social distancing thing, but, in fact, it’s an overweight-tourists thing.¬†
Heavy loads result in gondolas taking on water, Andrea Balbi of the city’s Gondola Association told CNN, and that makes it difficult for gondoliers to steer the vessels through canals.¬†
“Over the last 10 years or so,” Balbi said, “tourists weigh more‚ÄĒand rather than having them step on a scale before they get on, we are limiting the number.”
Yeah, well, if Italy wants us slimmer, maybe the country should think about making its gelato less delicious.¬†
The new 5-person cap applies to the famous slender boats you picture in your mind when you hear the word “gondola.” Bigger da parada¬†gondolas, often used as water taxis on the Grand Canal, are also reducing the number of people allowed on at once, from 14 to 12.¬†
Raoul Roveratto, the president of the association of substitute gondoliers, had this to say about the change, according to La Repubblica newspaper (as translated by The Independent):
“Tourists are now overweight. From some countries, bombs load [on to the boats]. And when [the boat] is fully loaded, the hull sinks and water enters. Advancing with over half a ton of meat on board is dangerous.‚ÄĚ
We’re hoping that, like most things, sounds a lot nicer in Italian.
Venice isn’t the first tourist destination to make alterations to a beloved boat-based attraction to accommodate bigger guests. The “it’s a small world” ride at Disneyland in Southern California¬†reportedly underwent a redesign¬†for that reason several years ago.