If a gondola is a candlelit dinner and foreplay, the water taxis are a hot one night stand. All spunk and speed and brawn; steered by equally slick, collared bastions of masculinity. The tiger sharks of the canal network, they slice through the water with a sonorous rumble, or lie in waiting at transport hubs and major tourist attractions.
Like limousines, water taxis are not cheap, but if you want door to door service in Venice, this is your only means. I fantasised about being offered a free ride at the flick of my hair, but other than a few smiles from drivers with upturned collars and russet skin, I was unsuccessful.
Venice was in the grip of a three week heat wave, and in search of relief on a sultry evening, I would buy a slice of take-away pizza, sit on the Fondamenta del Rio Nuovo and watch the cortege of water taxis going between the station and the Grand Canal.