At first, the police officers who were on a routine patrol presumed that the gondola was empty and had merely come adrift from its mooring, Ansa reported.
But as they approached the boat they realized there was an inebriated young Italian couple asleep inside...
Venice is of course one of the world's most romantic cities and after one too many glasses of prosecco, anything seems possible.
After imbibing too much, the young Italian couple decided it would be a good idea to go for a gondola ride on the Venetian lagoon. The only problem was they didn't have a gondola.
The youngsters opted to steal one of the typical Venetian boats - choosing one that was owned by the city council and used to transport people from one shore of the Grand Canal to the other.
Once on board the couple set off for a tour of the Venetian lagoon, which they achieved with some difficulty.
Then they sailed the boat up the Grand Canal.
Once they reached a dark spot, the considerable effort of joyriding in a gondola must have caught up with them, and the couple fell asleep in the boat.
Being young, drunk and in love might not be a crime: but theft and reckless endangerment are – and that's exactly what the young duo were charged with after being taken to the police station.