The true magic of Venice to me was definitely the beautiful gondolas. They entertained me everyday as I enjoyed my cappuccino, pizza or wine. Between 9 am to 10 pm there were 100's of gondolas plying their trade up and down the Grand Canal and through the smaller canals. Jim and I opted for the 10 pm ride, it was amazing, we were basically the only gondola on the water, it was so calm and the lights of the grand canal were magical. Our Gondolier was able to tell us all about his job and the spots that we passed. It must have helped that he wasn't trying to skirt in and out among water taxis, buses, delivery boats and other Gondolieris. There are 450 gondola's in Venice now and they work 2 days on and 2 days off. In their heyday during the 15th century there were 10,000 gondolas.
Every gondola has the same iron prow-head. In the picture above we were lucky enough to be enjoying a glass of wine as the sun started to set and it made the prow-head look like it was on fire as it danced on the waves.
"The iron prow-head of the gondola, called "fero da prorà" or "dol fin", is needed to balance the weight of the gondolier at the stern and has an "S" shape symbolic of the twists in the Canal Grande. Under the main blade there is a kind of comb with six teeth or prongs ("rebbi") pointing forward standing for the six districts or "sestieri" of Venice. A kind of tooth juts out backwards toward the centre of the gondola symbolises the island of Giudecca. The curved top signifies the Doge's cap. The semi-circular break between the curved top and the six teeth is said to represent the Rialto Bridge. Sometimes three friezes can be seen in-between the six prongs, indicating the three main islands of the city: Murano, Burano and Torcello." Gondola - Wiki
With all my watching and my camera at the ready I never saw anyone land in the canal :)
Thank you Venice for sharing your magic with us.