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12.3.11

Today we talk about Gondole!!

Ok today topic is Gondola, the black boat that is typical of Venice.
The Gondola and the Gondoliers are part of the mythology of Venice. It is a tradition passed by from fathers to sons, and it is still a very male art/job.
It's narrow and flat shape is perfectly adapted to travel along the narrow and shallow rivers and canals of Venice. They were used as means of transport but now a days they are mainly an attraction and therefore  a trip on  them is an essential part of the Venetian experience. In fact a journey on them give the tourists a different view of the city, passing by grand palatial homes using a form of transport dated back over 1.000 years. The average cost of  a journey is about 80 euros daytime.

The traditional dress of the gondolier is a striped vest, black trousers and a beribboned straw hat, he usually stands upright at the back of the gondola and he pushes a oar to row the boat in the direction he is facing, he also sings local songs for the tourists' pleasure. The oar stands on a thing called the Rowblock (forcola in italian) it gives the possibility to hold the oar in eight  different positions so the gondolier can steer the boat more easily.
The passsengers sit  on low stools in the center of the boat usually facing forward and giving their back to the gondolier.
The gondolas are hand crafted using techniques from the 1880s, it takes almost a year to build a gondola, nine type of wood are used to  build it: walnut, oak, mahogany, fir, larch, lime, cherry, beech and elm. It's cost is around 40.000 euros.
The shape of the gondola is asymmetrical to counteract the force of the oar. Without the curve on the left hand side  the boat will go round in circles.






Gondolas were used for many different occasion such as funeral, wedding, special cerimonies, some are still used now a days  in races and parades ( like "la vogata del silenzio").
The gondola is rappresented in many  the paintings like the ones of  Canaletto : "Return of the Bucintoro to the Molo on Ascension Day"  "The Grand Canal and the Church of the Salute" , 19 of the paintings of Canaletto are displayed today at the Wallace Collection Museum in London, in fact this type of boat used to be an inspiration for many writers, artists and musicians.

Hope you enjoyed todays' information, post us a comment if you like  and speak you soon.

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