Chalk it up to another case of tourists behaving badly.
A gondola reportedly capsized in Venice’s iconic canals on Wednesday. According to reports, the gondola, which was carrying a group of Asian tourists, capsized near St. Mark’s Square after the tourists onboard refused to listen to instructions from the gondola driver.
The point where the gondola flipped is a tricky spot on the canal where the driver has to clear the boat under a low bridge, a maneuver that requires some semblance of balance onboard. The driver was seen and heard giving instructions to the guests onboard, but was apparently unable to convince them to listen, with local media reporting that they instead continued to shift around the boat, taking photos, before it ultimately tipped over.
According to reports, the group landed in the freezing water (the temperature in Venice was in the 40 F range) and tried to pull themselves into a nearby boat. The driver followed the guests into the canal, helping them onto a rescue gondola. An Instagram account called Venice Non e Disneyland (translates to "Venice Is Not Disneyland") captured the aftermath:
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All guests and the driver were rescued and no injuries were reported. Still, the incident is yet another event where bad behavior from tourists grabs headlines, particularly in a destination that has been dealing with overcrowding and trying to balance the need for tourism with respect for its landmarks.
In June, a video of a man carving himself and his girlfriend's name into Rome’s Colosseum went viral, prompting Italian police to track down the culprit, who was then identified as a tourist from the U.K. That incident also provoked a response from Italy’s culture minister, who called it “offensive to everyone around the world.”
The Venice canals, despite their popularity, have proven to be a sensitive part of the city's infrastructure. Earlier this year, low water on the canals left some areas exposed, making it difficult for boats to navigate around a car-free city. Also recently, the Venice Gondolier Association, which represents drivers in the city, reduced capacity onboard because of the growing weight of guests, moving from a six-person limit to a five-person limit.