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A Gondola is primarily enjoyed by tourists in Venice but even so a gondola does add to it's charm. Though they are different than the gondolas that Giovanni Canaletto painted in his day, gondolas are still built to an exact standard. Gondolas also adds to Venice's economy as they are quite expensive for even a short ride. A gondola is expensive to make as it is made of eight different kinds of wood including walnut and cherry. At one time there were almost ten thousand of them but of course now motor boats are a more practical means of transportation leaving the gondolas in the hundreds. Not just anyone can own gondolas. There are only 425 licenses issued by the guild to operate a gondola. I imagine that it keeps down the competition by limiting a license. Also an owner of a gondola has to have certain skills that pertain to a highly skilled tourist guide such as history, landmarks, foreign language and not to mention the ability to navigate in narrow canals and under bridges. When we were in Venice we used a pass that allowed us to ride the vaporetti. Unlike a gondola, a vaporetto water bus is fast and cheap. Water taxis are also expensive and are used primarily by tourists that don't know any better. There are row boats that are used just for crossing the Grand Canal that you stand in but they are not called a gondola they are called a traghetto and cost less than a euro. If you absolutely have to ride in a gondola just to say you did it be prepared to spend 80 euro for a maximum of six people for an hour's ride.

Giovanni Antonio Canal (17 or 18 October 1697 – 19 April 1768), better known as Canaletto
Canaletto painted grand scenes of the canals of Venice and the Doge's Palace. His large-scale landscapes portrayed the city's pageantry and waning traditions, making innovative use of atmospheric effects and strong local colors. For these qualities, his works may be said to have anticipated Impressionism.

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