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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Fun Facts from Our Gondolier

A gondola.  Does anything scream "I'm in Venice!" more than seeing a gondolier floating down a canal?  

Every day 30,000 people commute from the mainland to work in Venice, which is HUGE considering that there are only 60,000 people living in Venice today!  (Our gondolier told us that rent on the mainland is three times cheaper than in Venice itself!)

Each gondola is specially made to perfectly balance the weight and height of it's driver.  He said that it's possible to buy one used but that it's unlikely to find one that perfectly fits you, so most people purchase new.  It costs 35,000euro for a new gondola... but often the company you work for will pay for 30%.  He was telling us that his was made of at least four different kinds of wood.

Our gondolier also told us that in the 17th century, Venice had a population of 500,000.  Most of the large apartments and homes today have been turned into things like museums, opera houses, hotels, and schools.  He said that the majority of "home owners" in Venice are of the older generation.

He told us that all the buildings are supported by these huge wooden support beams.  The sink them into the mud to make the "foundation".  And he said that the beams don't rot because oxygen can't get to them.  For example, the bell tower that we went up in is supported by 35,000 wooden posts!  Crazy, huh?

Nothing like a romantic history lesson, huh Babe? :o)


  1. It looks like your gondolier does not like his picture taken! :) He is rather scouling in the background...

    1. Yeah he's kind of being grumpy there... but he was pretty friendly (even if he wasn't photogenic)