History of gondola rides in Venice Gondola rides in Venice.

 History of gondola rides in Venice
 Gondola rides in Venice. 
 The origins of the gondola
 The true origins of gondolas are shrouded in mystery.  Italy, Turkey, Greece and Malta claim that the gondola was invented within their borders.

 Historians trace the first accounts of these boats to 1094, when Vitale Faliero, the Doge of Venice, mentioned a Gondolum in a letter to the people.  To avoid a revolt, he "donated" gondola-like boats to the people and said they would help facilitate their travel around the city.

 The first visual representation of a gondola dates back to 1400 by the famous artists Carpaccio and Bellini in paintings preserved to this day.  Only from the fifteenth and sixteenth century gondolas were built and used for navigation in Venice.  In this period the gondolas had a different appearance from the present one.  Used mainly by the ruling class of the city, the gondolas had to flaunt the owner's wealth with luxury ornaments.  In the 16th century, the Italian government imposed a ban on excessive embellishment and ordered that all private gondolas be painted black, a practice that continues today.

 In the 17th century, towards the end of the Italian Renaissance, about 9,000 gondolas regularly sailed through the canals of the city, connecting citizens to the different districts.  Their design has been tweaked over the years to better serve as passenger vehicles - or water taxis, as they are often called.  Today, nearly all of Venice's 400 gondolas follow the same construction guidelines.


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