Hidden treasures

The Venice gondola: history of one of the citys symbols

Historical Curiosities
Miracolo_della_Croce_a_Rialto

The Venice gondola: history of one of the citys symbols

For those visiting Venice, the gondola is a not-to-be-missed attraction but few know its history. One needs only consider that the gondola was used as a means of transportation in the city already in the 14th century. Hard to believe? This is the proof.

In the painting ‘The miracle of the Cross in Rialto' of Vittore Carpaccio (1494), housed in the Venice Academy Galleries, a group of gondolas passing underneath the original wooden Rialto Bridge can be clearly seen.

The gondola in the painting is slightly different from the Venice gondola that we can see nowadays, as both the prow comb and the gilded decorations were not present - gondolas were also shorter.

It was only between 1600 and 1700 that the gondola became an increasingly common means utilized for the transport of private service and took on a shape similar to the current one. Noble families owned one or more de casada (or house) gondolas that they used for their business or leisure transport needs.

In the painting we can also see that each gondola uses a sort of cover, known as felze, used to provide shelter from the cold and unwanted gaze when crossing the canals.

So, next time you want to visit Venice in a gondola, remember that the boat you are using has more than 500 years of history! Unfortunately, you will be not able to rely on the felze to protect your privacy…

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: Veronica Franco: the most talked-about woman in the Serenissima

vf1
Big Names

Among the various Venetian female figures of the past, certainly one of the most interesting and, for many reasons also modern, was Ver...

View

Venice: 10 songs that will make you think of Venice

canzoni-ve
Did you know that...

Sometimes we hear the first few lines of a song and our minds are suddenly transported back to a place, a memory or a dream. We put tog...

View

Padua: Vò Euganeo: a place to be discovered

vò
Unknown places & works

In the last few months there has been much talking around the small town of Vò, in the province of Padua. It was at the center of ever...

View

Venice: 10 must-see movies filmed in Venice

10_film_venezia
Film Locations

Venice is unique amongst world cities and every year it turns into a dream-like experience for scores of tourists thanks to its timeles...

View

Top posts

Chioggia: The Valley of the Seven Dead Men

casone-millecampi-detto-casone-dei-sette-morti
Mysteries & Legends

Halloween is just around the corner: have you already got into the fascinating terrifying aura of the scariest party of the year? No ye...

View

Venice: The stone heart of St Mark’s Basilica

cuore-erizzo
Unknown places & works

If you are visiting St Mark’s Basilica and have just abandoned the wonderful vision of the Pala d'Oro (which is a must-see), just a f...

View

Venice: Map of Venice, what to know before you leave

mappa-venezia
Did you know that...

Did you know that Venice is not a single large island but rather a collection of 117 small islands linked together by over 400 bridges?...

View

Verona: The roman walls of Verona

porta-borsari
Historical Curiosities

Verona has always been considered a city of considerable importance from a military point of view: being at the mouth of the Adige Vall...

View