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William "Alberto" Oberg

"Resident Boatbuilder"

Photo credit: Gondola Greg

Photo credit: Gondola Greg

Alberto is, without question, one of the most handsome, witty, and charming of all Rhode Island's gondoliers (or so he tells us). One thing is certain: he is definitely the most confident!

In his youth, Alberto and his family explored via canoe the various waterways in the Ocean State. As a teen, he discovered kayaking, which quickly led him to the surf and the sea. He has spent six years working around the state in the kayak industry and is certified by the American Canoe Association as a level 3 Coastal Kayak Instructor. He has traveled near and far as a technical rep for Valley Sea Kayaks, and enjoyed a cushy stint as a kayak instructor for the Rhode Island-based Blount Small Ship Adventures.

“I can get paid to do this?!”
— Alberto

One day, Alberto decided it would be a good idea to learn how to build wooden boats. That day, like John Henry, he picked up a hammer and a piece of wood, and he hasn't looked back. He spent two years as a student of the art at the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, RI, building a beetle cat his first year and a Quincy Adams 12 ½ day sailor the following year. A week after graduating the program, in June of 2011, Alberto purchased a 32' motor-cruising lobster-yacht built by Baltzer-Jonesport in 1940 and is in the process of a fairly intensive restoration. His gondolier name is given in honor of the last of the great Italian gondola builders, the late Alberto Vitucci Nedis, one of the patriarchs in a long line of the great Tramontin gondola-building family.

For the better part of three summers, Alberto drove pedicabs in Newport. Eventually, injury left him seeking alternative employment - and it doesn't get much more alternative than gondoliering! He appeared serendipitously at a WaterFire one summer night demanding employment … which was, of course, granted. 

Albi, has been a full-fledged gondolier on the rivers in Providence since 2012. Following a terrible automobile accident in December, 2014, he was off the water rehabbing for a significant amount of time, but made it all the way back to the stern of a gondola late in the 2015 season. Welcome back, paesano.  

I was surprised the first time I went around a corner sideways [in a gondola] because that’s how you’re supposed to do it! I felt like a celebrity in Top Gear’s reasonably priced car. Awesome!
— Alberto