A Gondolier in Venice

Published: 13.02.2013, Updated: 05.03.2017
Roberto, the Gondolier

Roberto is a gondolier in Venice, Italy. Roberto's profession goes back to the 1300s. As a fourth generation gondolier he carries on a family tradition. What is it like to be a gondolier on the canals in Venice? What is it like to live and work in a place that attracts more than 15 million tourists every year. In this interview Roberto gives us some answers.

Canal Grande GondolaCanal Grande CarnevalCarneval Bridge of SighsBridge of Sighs Football shirtsFootball shirts GondolaGondola 

Before you listen to the interview, sum up how much your class know about Venice (location, history, attractions).

A Gondolier in Venice 


RobertoRoberto from Venice In jeopardy you are supposed to make the questions instead of giving the answers. Here is some of the information Roberto gives in the interview. You should make the questions. Use the hidden text only to correct yourself.


  1. Fourth generation
  2. 450 gondoliers
  3. 1300s
  4. There used to be 10,000
  5. China and Russia
  6. 45 minutes
  7. 80 Euros
  8. 6 people
  9. In a lagoon
  10. Bahamas, London and New York
  11. To have a girlfriend
  12. Only male gondoliers


Suggested solution
  1. How many generations in your family have been gondoliers?
  2. How many gondoliers are there today?
  3. When did the first gondolas appear?
  4. How many gondolas were there at the most?
  5. Where do the tourists come from lately?
  6. How long does a tour last?
  7. What is the price for a tour?
  8. How many people can be seated at the same time?
  9. Where is Venice located?
  10. Where has he lived apart from Venice?
  11. What is the best way to learn a foreign language?
  12. Are there mostly male or female gondoliers?

Tasks and Activities

GondolierFourth Generation Gondolier 


  1. Make a written presentation or picture book where you present what it is like to be a gondolier. Include training, qualifications, family tradition, guiding and the gondola.


  2. Roberto has asked you to help him make his homepage, where he will advertise for his business. Make a suggestion.


    TiesTie Rack
    Fotograf: Morten Serkland
  3. Italy is famous for its fashion and design. Choose three of these ties in the tie rack in Venice. Tell about the three different customers that buy the ties (for whom are they buying it, when is the first time they will wear it, why do they choose this particular tie, will other people notice it?)

Oral Practice

  1. You are working in the tie shop in Venice. The three customers (above) enter your shop and want to buy their ties. Act out the conversation.


  2. You are Roberto. A potential passenger wants to have a tour. He or she asks: how much you charge, the duration of the tour, the main attractions and if you sing during the tour. Act out the conversation between Roberto and the passenger.