When one thinks about Venice, the first thing that comes to the mind is Gondolas, not museums, not statues nor its food. Gondolas are to Venice as the Colisseum is to Rome and the Eiffel Tower is to Paris.
Gondolas has been on of the means of transportation to Venice for the last 500 years or so. Although at first Gondolas were the means of transportation throughout Venice, today they are mostly use by tourist and some are privately own.
About a thousand Gondolas were in use around the year 1500. Today, more or less there are around a couple of hundred.
The Gondolier (oarsman) under a Venetian law, must have been born in Venice to become a Gondolier.