Photographer's Note

A gňndola is a traditional Venetian rowing boat. Gondolas were for centuries the chief means of transportation within Venice and still have a role in public transport, serving as traghčtti (ferries) over major canals.

The gondola is propelled by an oarsman (the gondolier) who stands facing the bow and pushes, rather than pulls, a single oar. Contrary to popular belief the gondola is never poled, as the waters of Venice are too deep. A gondola for passengers may have a small open cabin, for their protection against sun or rain. A sumptuary law of Venice required that gondolas should be painted black, and they are customarily so painted now.

It is also worth noting that a gondolier, under Venetian law, must have been born in Venice to practice the profession.

Moored gondolasIt is estimated that there were several thousand gondolas during the 18th century. There are a few hundred nowadays, most of which are for hire by tourists, while a few serve as traghetti or are in private ownership and use.

The construction of the gondola has continued to evolve until the late 19th century, when motorized boats began to replace gondolas in Venice. A gondola is long and narrow, with an asymmetrical outline to facilitate propulsion with a single oar, and a good deal of rocker (lengthwise curvature) to minimise the area of contact with the water. The oar or rčmo is held in an oar lock known as a fňrcola. The forcola is of a complicated shape, allowing several positions of the oar for slow forward rowing, powerful forward rowing, turning, slowing down and rowing backwards. The iron ornament on the front of the boat is called the fčrro. It serves to protect the prow from accidental damage, as decoration and as counterweight for the gondolier standing near the stern.

Gondola's parkingGondolas are hand made using 8 different types of wood (fir, oak, cherry, walnut, elm, mahogany, larch and lime) and are composed of 280 pieces. The oars are made of beech wood and the left side of the gondola is made longer than the right side to counterbalance the weight of the gondolier.

Venetian tradition dictates that couples must kiss under every bridge for Eternal Love.

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Additional Photos by Pasquale Auricchio (Paky) Silver Note Writer [C: 4 W: 0 N: 14] (53)
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