Beyond the few requirements, gondolas can be decked out according to the owner's fancy. Gondolieri must undergo 400 hours of training, an apprenticeship, and a comprehensive exam on Venetian history and landmarks, and practical skill in handling the boat. I read that they can earn up to $150,000 a year. There were no women gondolieri until 2010.
Gondola rides cost about $100 for a 30 to 40 minute ride. Up to six people can ride for the same price. I'm a little sorry we didn't take a ride, it is so quintessentially Venice. However, I did buy a little glass Christmas ornament of Santa rowing a gondola! That will have to be good enough!
Where do gondolas go at night? To the gondola parking lot!