John "Cinque" Synco and Nelly 2015. Photo by Ivan Postivka Photography.

My life as an American gondolier began in Southern California in February 2002. I had just returned from traveling the country in a big rig for three months when an old friend of mine called and said his job was looking for more gondoliers. 

Jobless and always looking for a new challenge, I applied.

Nine and a half years later I was deep into a Venetian rowing obsession. In that time I had also travelled to Venice, Italy twice. I went in 2004 when my wife and I backpacked Europe for a month, and I went in 2005 to participate in the Vogalonga. 

In 2006 I witnessed two friends venture off and start their own successful gondola operation. That was the first time that running my own small gondola business crossed my mind, but I was on a different path back then, so I stored the idea just far enough away in my mind so that I could wonder about it now and again.

The idea came surging back when my wife and I achieved our goal of moving to Washington in 2011. We spent nearly three years living in Edmonds, WA. before we finally found the perfect place to raise our daughter and to start my business. 

Gig Harbor is our happy home now and Gig Harbor is where our old idea will become our passionate reality.



John "Cinque" Synco casually rowing "Nelly" at Sunset Gondola in Huntington Beach, CA.