As if Venice didn’t have it bad enough, battling an overtourism crisis — now the city’s iconic boatmen are being set upon by selfie-taking, headbutt-happy visitors.
Well, at least one Venetian gondolier is, in an incident that was captured on film and has since gone viral.
The video, posted to Facebook by bystander Dixe el Duse, made news in local rag La Nuova Venezia, who reported that a group of four South American tourists climbed aboard the man’s gondola to take a selfie without his knowledge or permission.
When the boatman asked the two adults and two children to disembark, a row ensued that saw the male trespasser push and headbutt the gondolier multiple times, before knocking off his traditional hat and punching him in the jaw. Watch the disturbing footage above.
The video also shows a woman in the background filming the confrontation on a tablet device, while another female yells.
The gondolier remains oddly calm throughout the confrontation, even smiling at points.
It’s not the first tourist related incident to stir controversy in the lagoon city in recent times. Authorities have had to introduce new regulations to cope with the crush of visitors, including banning picnicking and smoking in certain hotspots.
There’s also been a significant crack down on rude and anti-social behaviour, with thousands in fines being issued for offences over the past few months, such as sleeping in public spaces, chaining bikes to railings, jumping in fountains, and preparing food on public walkways.