photo by Mark Hunt
I received this from Joe Gibbons at Boston Gondolas today:
Has anyone out there heard this term?
have misspelled it but I once witnessed an older man hanging out at the basin
behind Saint Marks Square, assisting tourist onto gondolas using this unusual
stick that looked like a fancy cane. When I asked about him I was told he had
rowed gondolas for many years and he was now retired. His entire life was spent
on and around the boats that we all love. He opted in retirement to stay close
to what he knew so well, by assisting people onto the departing gondolas, he
was often rewarded with small tips but more important to him was his
association and the camaraderie that he had with fellow gondoliers and probably
a few good glasses of wine . They referred to him as the Ganzer!
Over 22 years ago, after visiting Venice with my
wife, we became infatuated with everything GONDOLA. Its amazing how much history
and information is out there. With a stroke of luck we found out that Tom Price,
sent by The Watson Foundation, was in Venice striving to work with the remaining
Squeros to protect, preserve and help educate the public about the values in
preserving the traditions of gondolas with a rich history going back nearly
1000 years. Tom is a real special guy and we sincerely want to say
a big thank you to him for exposing his knowledge, his contacts and his
Venetian friendships to us. Boston Gondolas would not exist without the
help and Support we got from Tom.
With nearly 10,000 miles of rowing
behind us and countless memories, Steve and I are about to become Ganzers. Our
very last tours are now behind us. Sure it is bittersweet, the mind says keep
rowing but the body tells us otherwise. No doubt this is a young man's game! It's
time for me to spend some time with the grandchildren, maybe fish a little, and
indulge into other aspects of my life.
A very special thank you goes out to our staff.
Charlie and Tony have been loyal and dependable gondoliers, we could not have
continued the past few years without them. Our Musicians are awesome,
Pete Bufano, Tara, Justin, Tony, Abbey, Yaeko - you guys helped make Boston
Gondolas the first class operation that it is. Thank You!!
There have been countless friends along the way,
but there is only one guy that has never missed a beat from the very first day we
opened. Steve Bruno, my business partner and good friend . YOU ARE THE BEST.
Steve's wife Sue and my wife Camille have put up with our absence now for 17
years during gondola season, now those are good women!! Thank you girls!
Goodbye to all that have been part of this
We will no doubt miss the daily adventures of rowing
gondolas but we are now GANZERS.
Joe Gibbons and Steve Bruno
PS: We are looking for someone
with the passion and desire to own and operate Boston Gondolas here in
Boston on The Charles River. If you have interest please email or Call
My friend Joe, his wife, and their friends and family built something beautiful - something great for the community, and they had a great run.
The gondola business in the US is better because of it.
I wish Joe and Steve the very best in their future as ganzers.
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Sometimes you've got to take that hat off,
turn it around, and get down to business!
Photo from US Gondola Nationals 2016 in Stillwater, Minnesota
Gondolier: Parker Harrison
This is a reposting of http://www.gondolagreg.com/2016/12/backwards-means-business.html
Friday, September 29, 2017
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Monday, September 25, 2017
photos by Nereo Zane
My friends at the GSVVM - a rowing club I'm a member of in Mestre - launched several of the club boats to row into the city for Regata Storica.
Some years back I was fortunate enough to make it to Venezia for this annual event, and I will truly never forget it. The GSVVM has a large fleet of rowing craft, ranging from tiny mascarete to a huge quattordesona.
If you can get aboard one, and get into the city early enough, you can tie up along the Grand Canal and enjoy the parade and races from the very best location.
Nereo Zane was aboard a caorlina, with a group of club members on several boats.
These are photos he sent me from the day.
Some of the club members watching the activity on the water.
The best seats in the house.
Our neighboring club in Mestre wears green and white.
This is one of those "everyone's gonna be out there" days.
All the rowing clubs dress up and row their finest boats.
Of course, you can expect to see some of the biggest multi-oared vessels gliding by.
I like to call these boats the "big desonas".
The Associazione Settemari out of Cannaregio proudly showing off their ten-oared "Diesona"
One the most impressive club boats is the 18 oar disdotona - the pride of the club Canottieri Francesco Querini in Castello.
My personal favorite is "Mestrina" - a quattordesona (14 rowers),
representing the GSVVM in Mestre.
These boats are so long that you can't always capture one from tip to tip with your camera.
Along with rowing club boats, there are period vessels,
with folks in period costume.
It's always fun to see someone you know on one of these boats.
After all of the processions, the canalazzo is cleared, and the races begin.
I could fill up an entire blog with all of the photos of all of the boats in all of the races, but in the interest of brevity, here are just a few.
In the six-man caorlina race, there are 54 rowers spread out over the nine individual boats. Just about everyone knows someone on a boat - so there's always lots of shouting from the spectators.
The GSVVM crowd were all cheering for the white boat.
The women's race takes place on light, fast mascarete.
I believe there were club members on both the green and the orange boat.
Actually I know the woman in front on the orange mascareta.
Heading towards the finish line.
As fast as possible.
Big thanks to Nereo Zane for these great images, and for making us feel like we were right there with the GSVVM club members, sitting on the rails of those club boats.
Maybe next year some of us will be.
Saturday, September 23, 2017
photo by Oliver Johnson
Hat by Giuliana Longo
Stripes and white marinera by Emilio Ceccato
Oar by Saverio Pastor
Gondola by Thom Price and Daniele Bonaldo
Sunset by God (who loves us and wants us
to be happy - see photo above for proof)
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
As the US Gondola Nationals approaches, new teams are formed and established teams regroup - all in the interest of bringing their very best to the competition.
Last year the four-man team from The Gondola Company of Newport made a big statement with a silver-medal finish, and a time only thirty seconds behind the fastest team.
This year they plan to upset things for the first-place team
(and I must admit that I'm a little nervous...because the first-place team is MY team!)
This evening, as the sun set over Newport, they had another scheduled workout row, complete with strategy discussions and aggressive training.
It's all in the name of working out the kinks, dialing things in, and clocking the very best time possible in the event - an event that's now about forty days away.
Ever the surfer, Parker prefers the barefoot approach.
Is it just me, or would this make a great album cover for a band?
Trademark backwards baseball cap.
...and rowing off into the sunset.