Gondola Ride

When in Venice, one must go for a gondola ride, right? That’s exactly what we did. Of course, it was the “tourist thing” to do but heck, I had to experience it. The gondolas are now mainly used by tourists. Venetians use water buses (vaporetto) or water taxis.

At first, I was a little apprehensive. I’ve heard many stories about Venice’s canals and how they can be pungent. I have a very sensitive nose and it didn’t bother me one bit. Yes, there certainly was a distinctive smell, but not unpleasant. Gondolas are narrow and wobbly! The last thing I wanted to happen was to fall into the canal. That would have been most embarrassing!

If you have heard that a gondola is asymmetrical, then you have heard correctly. The left side of the gondola is longer than the right side to compensate for it turning to the left. They are built in a very specific manner, using 280 pieces of different types of wood which include fir, oak, cherry, walnut, larch, elm and limetree.

This station is located near Piazza San Marco.

Check out this ornately decorated gondola.

There are approximately 400 licensed gondoliers in Venice. The limited number of licenses is dictated by the town council. This profession used to be handed down from father to son. Today, there is a rigorous program to train aspiring gondoliers which include classes and exams on Venetian history and at least one foreign language. Of course, the trainees must learn to master the unique rowing action and the network of canals. In August 2010, Giorgia Boscolo became the first female gondolier.


Here are some photos from our gondola ride.

Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal

Example of Venetian Gothic Architecture

A little help to see what's coming around the corner.

Shopping, anyone?

I don't think you can enter restaurants from the canal.

Love these balconies!

Did you know about Venipedia? It’s a wiki based site dedicated to Venice! Here’s a list of references if you wish to read more on the history of the gondola:


About May Dayao

Carpe diem!
This entry was posted in Italy, Travel, Venice and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Gondola Ride

  1. Not only are the sights beautiful, I think you had the cutest gondolier I have ever seen!

  2. What a classic city! Love the photos.

  3. What lovely photos, especially the balconies brimming with flowers – gorgeous! Also, the brief history and info about the gondolas and gondoliers was most interesting!

    • May Dayao says:

      Balconies with flowers is so European 🙂 Just love ’em too!

      Gondolas have a fascinating history. From the distinctive design of the ferro, forcola, and felze. Didn’t realize they used to have a small cabin, although it makes sense if it was the primary mode of transportation back then.

  4. zelmare says:

    Lovely photo’s! Absolutely love the last one – maybe I’ve also got a thing for balconies… 🙂

  5. These photos are gorgeous! Floating down a canal on a Venetian gondola is the stuff my dreams are made of…I’m determined to make it there one day!

  6. Malou says:

    Great post and stunning pictures, May! Venice is still a must-see place for me, kept on getting distracted by other destinations all these years. 😉

  7. Pingback: Piazza San Marco, Venice | travellingflip

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