Venice is a city like no other. It truly must be one of the most beautiful cities in the world - and certainly one of the most unique.
Everywhere I look I see history, faded grandeur, beauty and elements to delight the eye. For me the pleasure is in the simple things. Walking the back streets, watching the locals, seeing the boatmen go about their work, absorbing the artistic detail of the buildings and bridges.
Literally everything depends on the system of canals. Mail, ambulance, deliveries, even rubbish collection. The boatmen know their canals and there is a series of ranking of who gives way at intersections, and who has right of way at low bridges.
The gondaleers sing out as they approach a blind corner, they have right of way. Motor boats and water taxis, back up to let them though. Watching two gondolas pass each other in a narrow passage is a lesson in balance as each gondaleer puts his leg up, using it to brace the craft and avoid bumping the wall.
The oarsmen of the Cannaregio too have a unique rhythm to how they work their craft. We saw four person and six person craft practicing on the canals adjacent to Orsoni. Of all, only one woman. Competition to join a boat crew must be fierce.
Where once I thought riding a gondola was only for tourists, now I have rethought this. The best way to see Venice, is via her waterways. So, whether by gondola or water taxi, I highly recommend it.