10 Things You Must Know About Gondolas

10 Things You Must Know About Gondolas

Gondolas of Italy

Symbolism as an avant-garde is as old as 200-300 years, but it is more than just an artistic movement. Symbolism has always been a part of the art of depiction of a place, time, event, person etc., encompassing the portrayal of the culture. Today places (countries, geographical regions, cities, towns) are most of the times represented by symbols. Cities across the globe are represented by symbols like- Apple (New York City), Eiffel Tower (Paris), Big Ben Tower (London). One such city is the ‘city of water’- Venice, and there are a lot of symbols which depict Venice. One of the symbols which is widely used to depict Venice is the Gondolas. Just like any other public transportation in a city, Gondola is one of the modes of public transportation which runs over the Grand Canal which runs through the heart of Venice. But Gondolas are not only a mode of transportation but has a lot to it. Here are 10 amazing things about Gondolas you should know:

1. Past

Gondolas are older than what you may think, they are as old as 1000 years. During the 16th century, Gondolas were the main mode of transportation used in Venice. By the 18th century, there were about ten thousand Gondolas in the city which saw a significant reduction in the coming centuries and today there are about 400 of them.

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2. Asymmetrical

It would be a surprise to know that the beautiful leaf-shaped Gondolas are asymmetrical. Every Gondola is a little more than 35 feet in length and 4 and a half feet wide. Although the left side of every Gondola is 10 inches long, as this asymmetry provides a counterbalance with the weight of the Gondolier.

3. Graduating to a Gondolier

You cannot be a Gondolier if you know how to row a boat. A training of 400 hours is being given to become a Gondolier, covering every aspect of rowing a boat, making it almost similar to the modern day driving tests. And we want to be a singing Gondolier, there is another arduous exam you need to give. In the city of Gondolas, it is surprising to know that only 3-4 new licenses are given every year.

4. Uniform of the Gondolier

Not only it takes extensive training to become a gondolier but you can’t wear anything that you like to row the boats. The clothing is a Gondolier is strictly regulated with white colored shirts or striped t shirts (red and white or black and white) in summers. In the winters, on the contrary, the Gondoliers have to wear black-colored reefer jackets which save them from the chilly Venice winters.

5. Maintenance

Not only your Mercedeses and Maseratis are high maintenance, these floating beauties too require good maintenance which costs a lot. The hulls of the Gondolas are to be varnished every month to save them from the pests that eat the wood.

6. Black

This fact reminds of the famous statement made by Henry Ford for the color of Model T- “you can have any color as long as it is black.” The city of Venice has a law that all the Gondolas should be black in color, and this law goes back to the 16th century.

7. Weight

Do not under estimate anything of these beautiful boats, especially the weight. With a length of 35 feet, these Gondolas weigh about 700 Kgs which is more than the weight of an average horse.

8. Ferro

The hood ornament on the prow of the boat is called the Ferro. You may although think that it is a decorative item unless you observe that every Gondola has it, making a ferro more than a decorative article. The 6 prongs on the ferro signify the number of 6 districts of Venice. One prong runs backward and it represents the Giudecca island.

9. Gondoliera

It took hundreds of years for the beauty to row these floating beauties. It is very recent in 2010 that licenses to females were given to row the Gondolas. The first Gondoliera was Giorgio Boscolo.

10. What is it made of

The size of a Gondola as compared to other biggers boats may lead you to think that it is easy to make. But you are completely wrong. Making a Gondola is a painstaking process which takes about 280 components with 8 different kinds of wood- cherry, walnut, mahogany, oak, larch, fir, lime and elm.

In case you board a Gondola next time, do check out all these amazing things it has.

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