The Somervillen Voice Topic of the Week:Should Somerville Follow Suit Like Providence to Run Gondolas In Somerville Harbor


By William Tauro

Now that Somerville’s Assembly Row is off and running and we can finally utilize our very own harbor, maybe it’s time to make it a tourist attraction.

Talk of Gondolas romantically making their way around Somerville Harbor has been tossed around for a while but what do you think?

One of the most beloved and talked-about things to do in Providence, La Gondola offers authentic Venetian gondola tours under the company’s President and owner, Matthew “Marcello” Haynes.

At La Gondola Providence say, “we make memories!”

Owner Matthew “Marcello” Haynes has been at the helm of the company since 2007, and has transformed the enterprise into one of the most recognized and beloved attractions in Providence.

His unwavering focus on customer service and the value of each individual’s experience on board the gondolas has resulted in both local and national recognition, including a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor.

Our Gondolas
The “Cynthia Julia” is Providence’s first gondola and is believed to be the first truly authentic Venetian gondola ever built in the United States. It was commissioned to be built in Manchester, Massachusetts in May, 1996, and completed in October, 1996. The gondola’s design is from the 19th century and is adorned with hand-sculpted ornaments and more than 250 feet of solid brass trim.

The “Bella Donna”, our second gondola, was built in Venice in 2001 by Dei Rossi. It was brought to New Orleans and was actually utilized during Hurricane Katrina to rescue stranded people during that storm. It was brought to Providence and restored in 2006, and has been part of our fleet ever since. It is also adorned with hand-sculpted ornaments and over 250 feet of solid brass trim.

Our newest (and oldest) gondola, has not even been re-christened yet! This magnificent gondola, which was extensively restored during the 2010-2011 off season, was constructed in Venice by Tramontin, the foremost gondola builder in the city, approximately 35 years ago. It was built as a wedding gondola, and brought to America over 30 years ago.

It was previously used by an event coordinator for Italian-themed events, and as such was cut into three pieces to make it easier to get into and out of banquet facilities. It is adorned with hand-sculpted ornaments similar to our other gondolas, but its trim is steel, giving it silver accents. Additionally, its entire bow and stern were carved with mythological deities and sea creatures, and it also bears two plates with a Venetian expression: “Cocai in laguna, burasca in mar; dove no se crede, l’aqua rompe,” (translation: safety in the lagoon, stormy in the sea; where one does not believe, the water breaks [him.]) Its first launch onto the water in over 30 years was in May, 2011, and its first trip was taking a group of Italian 4 students who were here for a field trip!

We are very happy to have this beautiful gondola as part of our fleet.

Meet Our Gondoliers

Marcello, “Il Boss”, Rosario, Amadeo, Donato, Alessandro, Lucian, Ivan0 and Dantino

Ciao, tutti!









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