Google Street View Gondola takes a tour of historic Venice

Street view
The Street View Trekker operator relaxes as a gondolier takes him through the city's canals.

Always wanted to visit La Bella Venezia, but can't find the time? Google's latest Street View project lets you explore the brooks and crannies of Venice from the comfort of your browser. It's not quite as grand as the real thing, but it's still a fun trip.

The winding streets and narrow waterways of Venice aren't exactly proper venues for the Street View cars, so the Trekker backpack was employed — usually used for remote areas or rugged terrain. Here, of course, all its operator had to do was sit back and let a gondolier man the oar ( though a motorboat did most of the propelling for photographic purposes).

Naturally, there's more to Venice than its famous canals and 118 picturesque little islands; the spacious Piazza San Marco, a number of beautiful and ancient churches, and other such sights are also documented by the team. This blog post has some details, and a rather elaborate behind-the-scenes page for the Venice tour also points out many areas of interest.

Documenting the "Floating City" sooner rather than later may have been a wise choice: Venice is under continuous threat from rising water levels and sinking buildings. The latest estimate has the water advancing 2 millimeters a year — so while you probably don't need to move your vacation plans up, a few generations from now it might be advisable to bring a pair of boots.

Start your tour here, and be sure to check out previous Street View projects, like the Galapagos, Kennedy Space Center and a British Submarine.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is