O sole mio! In a sad nod to safety, Venice’s famed gondolas will soon be required to carry GPS. The new rules, which also require license plates and reflective strips, are expected to be in place by November.
The safety measures are the result of an August accident in which a German tourist died when a water bus hit his gondola. The GPS regulation is part of a 26-point safety plan being mulled by city officials. “We had no alternative, we can no longer pretend that the problem does not exist,” Venice’s transport councilor Ugo Bergamo has said.
City officials plan to ban the punters altogether until 10:30 a.m., when the morning rush is over. They may also cut the number of gondolas by half. About 400 licensed gondolas troll the famous canals, with another 100 or so operating illegally, according to estimates.