Other than canals and their footbridges, there are two other things that are in abundance in Venice: alleyways and gondolas. The alleyways in Venice are everywhere, as they provide very narrow spaces to walk between the numerous buildings that are squeezed onto the 118 islands that make up the city. Of the over 400 footbridges found in the city, you can count on an alley being present. Gondolas, on the other hand, seem like they are everywhere but, in reality, they number only about 400 or so ( at their height in the 1800’s, gondolas numbered over 10,000). The number of gondoliers also number around 400 and are licensed by a guild. To become a gondolier requires 400 hours of training over 6 months, an apprenticeship and the passing of a comprehensive exam. I am guessing that there is a waiting list to apply for becoming a gondolier as the average one is estimated to earn $150,000 annually.
When we walked down this extremely narrow alley, we were surprised to see a gondola pass by. From our angle of sight, it didn’t even look like there was a canal there as there was barely enough room for a gondola to fit. We barely even saw the gondola itself. It almost appeared that the gondolier was floating on air passing that alley’s opening. We then went into a waiting game, hoping to capture another gondolier sighting. That required a lot of patience as there was no guarantee that it wasn’t just a stray gondola passing by. Finally, we experienced a few that passed by. This one was probably my best shot with the classic red hat and striped shirt.