In Venice a few years ago I was surprised to stumble upon this white gondola. Surprised because I always thought gondolas had to be black. Indeed, research confirms there is even a law requiring them to be painted black.
So how come this one was white? I was told that it was “for weddings” but I only saw it on that one day, never again, so it must have been used for only one occasion. A bit like a wedding dress, I suppose. I can only imagine what a splendid sight the event must have been.
The regular black gondola is pictured below for contrast, heading towards the famous Rialto Bridge.
Venetian gondolas date back to at least the 16th century and possibly as early as the 11th century. Once used to transport both goods and people across the canals, gondolas are now largely the domain of tourists. Most local commuters use either the public transport network of vaporetti – the larger ferries that ply the canals – or private water taxis.
If you just want to cross from one side of a canal to the other where there’s no bridge, you can use a traghetto, another form of gondola in which you normally stand.