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Venice Gondolas

Venice, Italy

Gondolas and gondoliers have been a part of Venice since before most people can remember. In the 16th century, they were used as the main mode of transportation as well as trade, and about 10,000 gondolas were in daily use. Today, there are about 500 and they are used almost exclusively for tourism.

Gondolas have been in existence since 1094, however the gondola that we all recognize today didn't emerge until the 16th century. In those days, the gondolas were much more decorative, with ornamented cushions, elaborate carvings and gorgeous, bright paintwork. In 1562, it was ruled out that gondolas be uniformly black, the color that remains to this day. The modern day gondola is made from nearly 300 pieces of seasoned mahogany, elm, lime, oak, walnut, larch, cherry and pine. In Venice, there are about five different boatyards where a new gondola is released every three months.

Gondola rides in Venice can be found almost everywhere and can be rather expensive. The general rate is €80 for a 40 minute ride with a maximum of six people per gondola. 20 minutes extra costs about €40. After 7 p.m., the charges go up and cost about €100 and €50 for an extra 20 minutes. If you decide to take a ride, be sure to agree on the price beforehand and be prepared to take lots of pictures!

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