The gondola is a traditional, flat-bottomedVenetianrowingboat, well suited to the conditions of the Venetian lagoon. For centuries gondolas were the chief means of transportation and most common watercraft within Venice. In modern times the iconic boats still have a role in public transport in the city, serving as traghetti (ferries) over the Grand Canal. They are also used in special regattas (rowing races) held amongst gondoliers. The gondola is propelled like punting, except an oar is used instead of a pole. Their primary role today, however, is to carry tourists on rides at fixed rates.
San Giorgio Maggiore is a 16th century Benedictine church on the island of the same name in Venice, northern Italy, designed by Andrea Palladio, and built between 1566 and 1610. The church is a basilica in the classical renaissance style and its brilliant white marble gleams above the blue water of the lagoon opposite the Piazzetta and forms the focal point of the view from every part of the Riva degli Schiavoni.