Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gondaliers won't sing ice cream song....

Venetian gondoliers complain after tourists continually request ice cream jingle O Sole Mio

Last updated at 4:51 PM on 4th October 2010
      Venice's famous gondoliers are up in arms over requests from tourists to continually sing ice cream jingle 'O Sole Mio' instead of being serenaded with local melodies.
    According to the Association of Venice Gondola Rowers, visitors to the famous lagoon city ask for the classic song - made famous by the 1980's classic Just one Cornetto ad - more than anything else.
    A romantic ride along the picturesque canals of the northern Italian city can cost as much as £100 for half an hour - so for that price tourists would be expected to get whatever song they ask for.
    However Venice city councillor Alberto Mazzonetto, who is also a member of the ultra nationalist anti immigration Northern League party, said: 'Most of the songs sung by gondoliers come from southern Italy. 
    'This is detrimental to tourists as it presents a distorted image of the city of Venice as some kind of new Disneyland, which has little to do with the place.
    'I'm not blaming the gondoliers it's not their fault but the instead I blame the Gondola Authority - they get 600,000 Euro a year from the council and they do have the power to do something.
    'They can tell gondoliers what to wear and what not to wear - for instance they are not allowed to wear trainers and there is a disciplinary code so they could tell them to sing more Venetian songs.
    'It is an insult to our heritage and a real punch to the stomach to have Venetian gondoliers singing songs from southern Italy.'
    Tradition: Lines of gondolas on the canals of Venice. A Venetian councillor has said gondoliers sing too many songs from southern Italy
    Tradition: Lines of gondolas on the canals of Venice. A Venetian councillor has said gondoliers sing too many songs from southern Italy
    The Northern League also has a dislike of southern Italy as well as immigrants.
    Mr Mazzonetto added that he had heard reports that some gondoliers had been refusing to sing songs from southern Italy but pointed out that at the end of the day the customer was paying so if they insisted there was nothing that could be done.
    However singer-songwriter Nino D'Angelo, who is from Naples, defended the southern Italian songs and said: 'O Sole Mio is a famous Neapolitan song that's known all over the world. 
    'It's one of the most beautiful songs and I don't believe anyone has forced gondoliers to sing it. 
    'On the contrary, I think tourists request it - it's not just a Neapolitan song but a world anthem.'
    Aldo Reato, president of the Association of Venice Gondola Rowers , said: 'We try to open and close the gondola ride with a Venetian song but the problem is tourists only know O Sole Mio. They don't know any others.'

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