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The gondola is a traditional, flat-bottomed Venetian rowing boat, well suited to the conditions of the Venetian lagoon. For centuries gondolas were the chief means of transportation and most common watercraft within Venice. In modern times the iconic boats still have a role in public transport in the city, serving as traghetti (ferries) over the Grand Canal. They are also used in special regattas (rowing races) held amongst gondoliers. It is similar to punting, except it uses an oar to propel it instead of a pole. Their primary role today, however, is to carry tourists on rides at fixed rates.

The gondola is propelled by a person (the gondolier) who stands facing the bow and rows with a forward stroke, followed by a compensating backward stroke. Contrary to popular belief, the gondola is never poled like a punt as the waters of Venice are too deep.

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Additional Photos by Ludo Catti (polpo56) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1441 W: 86 N: 2123] (15134)
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