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.