Venice is a 1500 year old city that is a series of 120 islands in a lagoon. There are 177 canals that serve as streets in this city that has no cars. All transportation is either by boat or by foot. Even police "cars," fire "trucks," and ambulances are motorboats. So are buses and taxis!
The streets are flagstone and, because of the multitude of canals, there are many bridges. As you cross these bridges, you see people being rowed around in the famous gondolas. These are ancient riding crafts used only in the canals of Venice.
Most gondolas are 36 feet long by 4 feet wide. They weigh about 1000 pounds and can carry 6 people. There are large ones called traghetti which hold 20 people and charge an average of 700 lira to cross the Grand Canal.
The most important symbol of Venice is St. Mark's Square. It contains the Basilica of St. Mark and the Doge's Palace. The square was begun in the 9th century. By the end of the 12th century, Sebastiano Ziani completed it so that it looks much the same today. The square is 175 meters long and about half as wide.
1. If Venice is 1500 years old, when did it begin to develop?
2. How many square feet of space is there inside a gondola? How many square feet is that per person?
3. 12 gondolas are docked at the end of St. Mark's Square along the Grand Canal. About how many tons is that?
4. A lira is the basic Italian unit of currency. There are 2270 lira to one US dollar. If a gondola ride is 45,000 lira, about how much is that in US dollars?
5. Many flocks of pigeons live in St. Mark's Square. Suppose there were 2 pigeons for every square meter, about how many pigeons would that be?
6. Murano glass is famous throughout the world and is made in Venice. On vacation, Tony and Tina bought some Murano pieces home as souvenirs. They bought a vase for 600,000 lira, a perfume bottle for 300,000 lira, and a bowl for 850,000 lira. How much money is that in US dollars?