I took a tour of a gondola shop, or squero, where they make those asymmetrical boats Venice is famous for. They used to be the locals' regular transportation, but now are only used by tourists. I was surprised and saddened to learn that fewer and fewer people are going into the business of gondola making.
The gondolier who spoke with us was married to the daughter of the gondola shop owner. He said you could count the squeros left in Venice on one hand, and that no one new is taking up the profession these days. He explained how gondolas are made by hand using numerous different kinds of wood for different parts, and how you'd have to apprentice for years to really learn how to make them well. I don't know what they'll do when no one's left to make them or repair them anymore... ?
Fondest memory: One of my most romantic memories is of watching a couple tango-dancing on the steps of the Salute Church, which led right down into the water. I was in a gondola, complete with accordian player and singer, the moon was out, and the church was all lit up at night... fantastic!!!
When I first arrived in Venice not only it was raining cats and dogs but I also found out that the day before had been the day of the Regata Storica.... and I missed it! I went there just in time to watch the dismantling of the structures...
( This kind of things hapens to those who travel without knowing about VT and its helpful tips .... I had no idea )
This is one of the most traditional Venetian celebrations. It began in 1315 with the Doge Giovanni Soranzo to celebrate the glory of the Serenissima. The festival was a way to honour foreign dignitaries visiting the city, or celebrate a military victory.
Today the Regata Storica takes place on the first Sunday of September and has two different components: the Historical Procession and the 'Regata' races.
So, if you are visiting Venice this year and are interested in the Regata, do not forget....
Sunday - September 5, 2004
Concerning the "ferro", the decorative iron work on the front of the gondola....
The Venetians like to inform us, tourists, that its shape comes from the Doge's crown and the six fingers in it represent the six sestieri ( neighborhoods ) of the city, but it seems that there is no written proofs of this.
Once upon a time... tourists started taking rides in the gondola and asking what the decoration on the front stood for...
By the way.... this misty picture was not taken by me... My brother took it in 2002
The gondolas are, undoubtedly, the most typical symbol of the city. Before being used exclusivelly for tourism as today, they were born as private means of transport for rich people but due to their manoeuverability they became being employed for transporting people.
By tradition, they have their dimensions, colour and appearance strictly regulated.
The gondolas are built under strict rules and using the same material and yet each one of them is a unique masterpiece, a work of art.
They are built using eight different kinds of wood (fir, oak, cherry, walnut, elm, mahogany, larch and lime) and are composed of 280 pieces. The wood is still mostly worked by hand. The curved shape of the boat is achieved by bending boards of seasoned, dry timber which are wetted and then heated continuously.
The main characteristic of a gondola is its longitudinal assymmetry. Since 1890 gondolas have been built this way so as that one single gondolier - whith one single oar - is required to row the boat from one of its sides and it will still go straight !
Favorite thing: Gondola is undoubtely the most famous emblem of the city of Venice. These unique boats, which inspired the melodious song known as the barcarola, have acted as discreet witnesses to countless passionate love affairs, such as Alfred de Musset and George Sand, Eleonora Duse and Gabriele D'Annunzio, Lord Byron and his endless procession of concubines, and ........there is more of course.
In Venetian dialect, squero means workshop. The Squero di San Trovaso is a boat- builder shop, more exactly a gondola repair and construction yard. There are not many left in Venice, and the most famous (and most picturesque) is the Squero di San Trovaso.
Just off the Zattere in Dorsoduro - turn off Zattere at Ponte Lungo, along Fondamenta Nani.
Fondest memory: The alpine-style workshop, window sills clad with geraniums is a throw back to the first occupants who came from the mountainous Cadore region north of Venice.
It is not open to the public, but we passed the squero numerous times and saw gondolas being worked on outside all the time across the Rio di San Trovaso canal.
Departure from Santa Maria del Giglio (Hotel Gritti) every day, a romantic "promenade" by gondola with music songs which will make you dream along the canals of Venice.At 7:30 P.M, from april to October and at 7:30 and 8:30 P.M. from May to September and at 3:30 P.M. from November to March. The tour lasts 40 minutes approx
30 euro for person
Very expensive, but for a special occasion ... why not ?
What can be more romantic than having your wedding in Venice. And in that case you take of course also the most romantic mean of transport , what else ....... the gondola !
Fondest memory: It's was wonderful to see this lovely bridal couple in the gondola at their weddingday, at the last day we were strolling around in Venice.
No trip to Venice is complete without experiencing a ride in a Gondola. It is very touristy but an essential thing to do. Apart from the romantic aspect it is a great way to see another side of Venice - from the small canals.
As you are polled around you can see many buildings that are slowly being swallowed by a watery grave. Ancient doorways can be seen way below the waterline proving the rising water line.
Angie & I had a memorable ride with some Aussies around the waterways. Two of them were Italian Aussies so could translate the Gondalier's rantings as he manouvered his boat around the tight turns.
One of the symbols of Venice... It's appraised that during the XIV century there were in Venice about 10000 gondolas, with lot of colours. After an order by law (1562), all gondolas became black. They have standard measures and the construction is not easy: they are long 11 metres and width 1.75 mt.
Fondest memory: By the popular tradition, the tooths are 6 like the sestrieres.
Don't plan on taking a Gondola ride in Venice unless, of course, you're planning on shelling out over 100 Euro for the experience! Save your money and ride the "bus".
I was lucky enough to have my Dad spring for one when my family came to visit. It is a unique experience if it's a nice day and you don't mind the extra expense.
A RIDE IN GONDOLA
Ok, is a too touristis atraction, but what's Venice without gondolas? You can do it from 1/2 hour to the whole day. You can even bargain with the gondoliero, but the prices are high and there are queues for a ride! It will cost you no less than 80.000 lire/hour (prices of 2000). Tell the driver to go through the quieter little channels, in Grand Canal is not so romantc.
San Marco square, Napoleonic gardens, Giudecca, Rialto bridge, are the quality that composed a character of this city.
Fondest memory: For to enter completely inside the heart of Venice, the best thing to do, is to cross the water way "the arteries" that it will bring directly to the center of its soul. There are scenes that you only can see it from the water.
There is always room to bargain. A lot of times u will fail, especially when u are bargaining with people that do it 30 times a day, 365 days a year. But you arent going to get better at it if u dont try, and if u dont exceed, atleast u know u tried.
When it comes to getting the best price on a gondola ride in venice, u have to be able to stand your ground. Most times u will get offered a price at around 70 to 80 euros. Try not to pay that if u dont have to, but honestly, sometimes they wont budge.
Always question the price, and dont be afraid to drop it 10 euros. try not to drop the price to drastically or u might *** them off. Anything under 65 eruros u should be able to live with. If u cant live with it, then dont pay it...
Good luck on the bargaining table...
*Please feel free to rate this tip, or any of my other tips. i am always looking to improve them. thank u...