This form of transportation is not unusual if you live in Venice, Italy. The gondola is one of the most photographed water vehicles in the world.
Gondolas are operated by one person called a gondolier. The boat is curved to the right, so that the gondolier can stand on the left and use one oar to maneuver.
The gondola has an interesting construction. These boats are usually very fancy. They often have brocade chairs and luxury trimmings. The bottom of a gondola is flat. This allows it to make contact with only a small amount of the water's surface. Gondolas are often made out of eight pieces of wood.
Gondolas are fancy boats that look like traghetti, but when you get on, you tell the gondolier where you want to go. Riding a gondola is similar to riding a taxi in the U.S., but the gondola rides over water instead of land. In 2004, a 50 minute ride costs about 62 euros during the day and between 77-105 euros after 8:00 p.m.
If you like music, you may be in for a treat when you ride a gondola. Some gondoliers will sing to you (in Italian) or play a musical instrument during the gondola ride. Often you will need to pay extra money for this service.
To learn more about transportation in Italy, be sure to read the page about the vaporetto.
"The Most Beautiful Craft in the World." Istituzione per la conservazione della. 7 March 2005 <http://www.gondolavenezia.it/history.asp?scelto=1>.
Petersen, Pete. Personal interview. October, 2004.
Photograph of gondola from <http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=71807&tmp=1.> Photograph may be used for non-commercial work. The author (aegis) must be contacted when using the photo for any commercial work. Selling photograph is prohibited.
Copyrighted clip art image of gondola from "Microsoft Office Online" <http://office.microsoft.com/clipart/default.aspx?lc=en-us&cag=1> (October-March, 2004-2005). Clip art available only to licensed users for non-commercial purposes.