Monday, June 20, 2016

Italy Blog #7:Venice: The Oddities of a Gondola and the Gondola Shop

Rob and Tom pose in rainy Venice
In this seventh blog about our trip to Italy, we're still in Venice and we'll show you the Gondola Shop and tell you about what makes gondolas so unique.

GONDOLA MAKERS!  - this craft has been around since the 1500s, and there are 2 main manufacturers of Gondolas in Venice that we learned about.

Watching others take a Gondola in the rain
THE ODDITIES OF A GONDOLA: each one is a unique piece.  
1) Each gondolier has his own gondola and each boat is customized to its gondolier, to his weight and height.
2) In fact, there's an iron weight on the front of each boat to help the boat balance.
3)  They're curved! Looking at them head on you can see that gondolas are NOT straight like a kayak - that's all about balance, rowing, and steering... see below.
4) The steering position, the oar and the forcola where it rests are designed and manufactured considering the height and the arms of the gondolier. This need to customize gondolas is not an artistic habit, but rather responds to its peculiar navigation technique based on arm strength

THE GONDOLA SHOP - The main shop where the majority of gondolas are made is called Squero di San Trovaso. Its located at Fondamenta Bonlini, 1097, 30123 Venezia, Italy. That's the shop where we stopped (from across a canal) and got a look at how the gondolas were being made and repaired.

Gondola shop at Squero di San Trovaso
THE OLDEST GONDOLA BUILDER? - The oldest gondola builder is in Tramontin Squero, as the Tramontin family has been handing down the art since 1884 and has been the pioneer of the modernization of construction techniques, renewing methodologies used since the 1500s and 1600s. The construction technique of gondolas is virtually unchanged since the days of Giovanni Tramontin,

HOW MANY GONDOLIERS TODAY? According to, there are some 450 authorized gondoliers distributed over the five hundred gondolas in the city today.There are a lot of water taxis to get people back and forth, and gondolas seem to be pretty much used for tourists. There were a lot of hardcore visitors when we were there because they took the open gondola rides in the rain... while we took covered taxis. In fact, since it rained almost the entire time, we never did take a gondola ride


NEXT: Faces and Murals on Buildings 

THEN: Venetian Tour Guide Book Recommendation: Dan Brown's Inferno

THEN: Tom's Favorite Shop, Mozart Played Here,St. Mark's (Wet) Square)

Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next