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Gondolas were once the main form of public transport in Venice. Indeed, during the 1600-1700s, there were many thousands of gondolas in existence. There were also several other forms of vessels in use at this time, most of which have all but disappeared from the Venetian waterways.

With only 400 gondolas left in Venice today, and 425 official gondolier licenses up for grabs, becoming a gondolier is a highly prestigious – not to mention expensive – process. There are many exams covering not only the technicalities of rowing the gondola, but also history exams and language skills.

The form of the gondola changed gradually over time, until rules came into force banning additional changes to the design.

Comprised of some 280 parts, eight varieties of wood go into the construction of the gondola. Gondolas could have been painted in any colour until an ordinance requiring all gondolas to be painted black came into force legally and then traditionally.

Gondoliers stand on the back of the gondola and use a made-to-measure oar - called a rèmo - to row along the water. The rèmo is cupped in a fórcola that allows the gondolier to manoeuvre the oar.

The flat base of the gondola was designed to allow the vessel to navigate the waters of the Venetian lagoon.

The gondola is balanced off-centre to compensate for the weight of the gondolier and the effect of rowing on one side with a single oar. The férro – a metal decoration on the front of the gondola – serves as a counterbalance.

Gondolas originally had a small cabin to protect passengers from the weather. Venetian blinds take their name from the form of shutters that once provided passengers privacy there within.

An Enchanting Evening: Gondola Ride and Serenade

A gondola ride accompanied by musicians in the most romantic city on earth.

Wine - Private & Exclusive Tours - Boat, Gondola & Yacht Experiences - Families & Kids - Romance - from € 107.25

Glide along the charming canals and waterways in style during this private gondola ride complete with serenading musical accompaniment. As the sun sets across the lagoon, you’ll relish the stunning views and enjoy the gentle breeze as it ushers in a romantic evening for two.

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The Gondola: King of the Canals

Tour Venice in traditional, enchanting way - in a gondola!

Private & Exclusive Tours - Boat, Gondola & Yacht Experiences - Families & Kids - from € 33.25

Begin your evening with a dreamy ride down Venice's beautiful canals. Once the only mode of transportation, a gondola ride is still the best way to see this floating paradise through the eyes of the Venetians from yesteryear.

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Glorious Venice in a Day (or Two or Three)

Enjoy all of Venice's must-sees with our best guides.

Art & Galleries - Private & Exclusive Tours - Boat, Gondola & Yacht Experiences - Families & Kids - Cities & History - Architecture & Monuments - from € 149.00

Take advantage of our expert personal guides for the ultimate exploration of the ‘City of Canals’. Be entertained by the stories and the history behind this magnificent world as told by your own walking-talking fountain of knowledge!

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The Original Grand Canal Experience

Venetian luxury and intrigue come to life on this exclusive tour.

Art & Galleries - Private & Exclusive Tours - Fashion & Shopping - Boat, Gondola & Yacht Experiences - from € 42.00

Experience the magnificent Grand Canal in this truly unique way complete with luxurious water transportation that will whisk you off to the most breath-taking views, famous film locations, and grand palaces. Hear all about the mystery, intrigue and scandals that have been born from this sumptuous landscape, and enjoy a taste of the lifestyles of the rich and famous.

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The Ultimate Venetian Experience

A unique land and water tour of Venice.

Art & Galleries - Private & Exclusive Tours - Boat, Gondola & Yacht Experiences - Families & Kids - Eco-Friendly Tours - from € 70.91

Explore one of the most charming and unique cities in the world while gliding around on a traditional gondola. View the beauty of this metropolis both on foot, and by water, as part of this bespoke introduction to the authentic Venice. 

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A Venetian Wine Tour

Savor traditional Venetian flavors at the ‘bacari’ food and wine bars.

Wine - Art & Galleries - Fashion & Shopping - Eco-Friendly Tours - from € 62.00

Under the expert guidance of our professional Sommelier, enjoy sampling some of finest food and wine in one of the local ‘Bacari’ establishments.   
 
 

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Learn To Be a Gondolier

A unique and enchanting way to experience Venice.

Active & Outdoors - Private & Exclusive Tours - Exclusive Experiences - Boat, Gondola & Yacht Experiences - Families & Kids - Eco-Friendly Tours - Cities & History - Hands-On Activities & Classes - Artisans & Crafts - from € 70.00

Learn to navigate the city’s gorgeous canals and stunning lagoon at your own speed with one of our unique rowing classes. Our great English-speaking instructor will guide you through all the techniques and skills needed to become an expert Gondolier in no time!

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