A gondolier working near the Bareteri bridge in Venice was attacked by a South-American tourist. The dispute broke out after the gondolier asked the tourist’s wife to get off his docked gondola, which the woman had boarded without permission so she could take selfies, according to local reports.
In the video that shows the dispute, published on the Facebook page Venice My Way and quickly gone viral, you can see the tourist approaching the gondolier with a menacing stance, then headbutt him twice, and punch him in the face.
“The tourist attacked him verbally first, then he even tried to hit him,” said Gianpaolo D’Este, a colleague of the gondolier and a regatta champion interviewed by local TV station Rete Veneta. “Luckily my colleague, who was wearing a uniform and had a sense of responsibility, was cold-blooded enough not to raise his hands.”
The video shows the gondolier indeed reacting with aplomb. The two then disappear from the frame. The incident ended with a little abrasion on the gondolier’s forehead.
Tow years ago, the City of Venice launched an awareness campaign, #EnjoyRespectVenezia, concurrently with the United Nations’ International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development; the campaign is designed to encourage visitors to adopt a more responsible and respectful behavior when visiting the city, which gets approximately 20 million tourists a year.
“Sometimes, tourists have embarked on a docked gondola at night, going God knows where, only to be recovered by police while drifting in the lagoon…” says D’Este, the gondolier who manages Traghetto Carbon, the boat service that connects San Marco with San Polo.
Watch the video below (sourced from La Repubblica newspaper).