A way to get around in Venice is by taking a gondola ride. A gondola is flat and made of wood. It's 11 meters long, weighs 600 kg and is hand built in special workshops called squeri of which there are still a few today. Gondolas are seen in festival parades and in regate or rowing competitions. Taking a ride through the canals of Venice can be very romantic. A gondola is like a luxury car. Although black is the official color, many are ornately decorated and have comfortable seats and blankets. You can stroll around and look for one that suits your fancy. While gondolas were once regularly used by Venetians, especially of the upper classes, today vaporetti have become the main form of water transportation in Venice. A couple hundred years ago there were about 10,000 gondolas but today there are only about 500.