Unruly gondoliers facing drug tests
They symbolise the romance and unique heritage of Venice, but the lagoon city's famed gondoliers are becoming known for drunken antics and could soon be forced to take drug and alcohol tests.
The prospect was raised after Venice council received a series of complaints about the boatmen's allegedly unruly behaviour.
The issue was brought to a head by the recent "hazing" of an aspiring gondoliers' assistant, who was forced to take off all his clothes and plunge naked into the Grand Canal in order to secure the job.
Video footage of the incident was posted on YouTube last week but was later removed.
City councillors said the gondoliers involved in the "despicable act" should immediately have their licences revoked.
"Gondoliers represent our city in the world and must respect historical and traditional values, as well as human dignity," a group of councillors said in a statement. (© Daily Telegraph, London)