Sunday, October 8, 2017

Gondoliers Become Ganzers

photo by Mark Hunt

I received this from Joe Gibbons at Boston Gondolas today:

Retired gondoliers: "Ganzers"
Has anyone out there heard this term?
Maybe I 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 incredible journey.

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 Joe: or 617-460-1239

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.

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