The gondola

The gondola

The gondola is the only boat in the world which, being just 11 metres long and weighing more than 600 kilograms, can be steered with agility and easyness by just one person and with only one oar and it has become, for millions of tourists, the very symbol of Venice. It is unique, just like the town that it represents, Venice in Italy, also for its constructive characteristiques. First of all it the gondola is asymmetrical, as its left side is larger than the right one for 24 cm and so it always sails tilted on one side. The keel, thus, is not straight but it bends to the right, so that the gondola floats particularly tilted on the right-hand side. That allows the counterbalancing of the push of the only oar which would tend to carry it to the left side. It has got a flat bottom which let it sail in shallow water. For its construction eight different types of wood are used and 280 are the parts tha gondola is made of. The only metal elements are the characteristic ‘fero’ (iron) made of six teeth at the bow (front), whose S form should imitate the winding of the Canal Grande and the lunette, placed under a stylized doge’s cap, the bridge of Rialto, while the six teeth should represent the six sestieri into which Venice is divided and the ‘risso’ (crook) astern (back), which should symbolize Giudecca island. Before the gondola became of exclusive tourist use, that is for few decades, at the centre of it a winter and night covering called felse was usually placed, endowed with a door and sliding windows with Venetian blinds and curtains, mirrors and a hand-warmer; that was used in order to protect passengers both from cold and inquisitive gazes; nowadays it has almost completely fallen into disuse as it limits the visibility and so it is not suggested to tourists. Today: Going on a tour by gondola through the canals of Venice is not cheap but it is surely very evocative. We are going to list some general prices for you: Daytime hire (of course with the gondolier) 50 minutes, six persons at the most per gondola EURO 100,00 For every 25 minutes exceeding the first 50 EURO 50,00 From h.8,00 p.m. to 8,00 a.m. Hire service and tour by night 50 minutes, six persons at the most per gondola EURO 120,00 For every 25 minutes exceeding the first 50 EURO 50,00 If necessary you can get on a gondola also by using it as a ferry-boat (as lots of Venetians do) in order to reach the opposite side of the Canal Grande. The price is of about one Euro. The most famous ferry-crossings are the ones between the Frari and St. Samuele and between St. Fosca and Rialto Market.

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