I read about this in my guidebook. My first thought was, “Is this going to be cheesy?” I've experienced a gondola ride in Venice, and this is... wait, in Providence? After reading Trip Advisor reviews, I was convinced to give it a try. Without the reviews, I would have been afraid to book a trip to celebrate our wedding anniversary (mid-September), though I secretly wondered if all the reviews had been written by friends and family of La Gondola.
We booked the basic trip - Viaggio di Sogni (Dreams). I thought it would be nice to experience just our gondolier’s singing. I’m really glad I did - it felt intimate and relaxed. (Also, I don’t know where a musician sits, so I didn’t want to worry about someone blocking our view.) Marcello was our gondolier, and he was delightful. We enjoyed watching him set up our gondola – adding all the decorative touches including a deep red oriental runner on the lovely polished wood floor (deck?). He told us one or two stories, including how he got started in the business, and offered a bit of local history. He serenaded us with a couple of old-fashioned sweet songs in English and some more beautiful songs, this time in Italian. He has a gorgeous voice, and he didn’t sing at the top of his lungs, which I appreciated. He simply sang for us. For our beautiful-weather evening, there were a couple of gondolas on the water, and it was peaceful and romantic.
DO bring a camera, and do shoot some video during a song, especially as you go under one of the bridges. You don’t need to be facing your gondolier – just shoot so that you can capture that voice.
DO book a sunset trip so that you’ll have part of your time in daylight and part of it in the dark.
Suggestion: I can imagine just driving down from Boston for an early dinner and a sunset gondola ride.
If you’ve done this in Venice, don’t compare this trip. It’s NOT Venice… it’s its own trip! (And there’s no airfare involved.)
I didn’t care for the Italian wine biscuits, and my husband thought they were just okay. But I guess there had to be ONE thing that I wouldn’t give 5 stars to! :)
According to the Urban Dictionary, "Cheesy" means “Trying too hard, unsubtle, and inauthentic.” Our experience with Marcello couldn't have been further from that.
So, GO, before the season ends at the end of October!
(Attached photos seem to be out of order, but you can figure it out by the fading light.)
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