I would imagine that there are many people who have lived in Venice their entire lives and never set foot in a gondola. For many tourists, however, the gondola is almost the symbol of Venice, the most iconic representation of the city. I have taken probably three rides over the years, with and without opera singers. I'm a tourist too, and have enjoyed the experience because it's always been shared with people who have never been to Venice before. I thought the sign in English, "Gondola Service" was a bit tacky. How many people are confused by the Italian "Sevicio Gondole"?