Sometimes I pick up the best information in the most off-hand ways. When I had a guided tour through the Alinari archives in Florence, I was shown this image dating to 1874 or earlier in Venice.
Look carefully at that gondola. According to my guide, gondolas were enclosed back in the day. Much more private than today, when anyone can see anybody in any gondola.
I would have liked to be in the olden days (but I am happy we have antibiotics now!).