The Venice gondola: history of one of the citys symbolsHistorical Curiosities
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…
Venice: The bridge of Fists in the Dorsoduro district
The Bridge of Fists, located in the Dorsoduro district, owes its name to an ancient tradition of Venice: the War of Fists. The inhabita...View
Venice: The red stone of the 'Sotoportego de la peste'
Mysteries & Legends
Walking around Venice along the narrow streets and across the squares, you could happen to notice strange slabs on the pavement... whic...View
Treviso: Mr. Carnevale’s confetti factory in Paese
We all know what confetti is! It is little pieces of colored paper that are thrown into the air during the course of carnival celebrati...View
Padua: The biodiversity garden in the Padua Botanical Garden
Unknown places & works
Founded in 1545, the Botanical Garden of Padua is the oldest botanical garden in the world to be still in its original location; it cov...View
Venice: The relief of the man with the pipe at Palazzo Loredan on the Grand Canal
Mysteries & Legends
One of the oldest buildings on the banks of the Grand Canal is Palazzo Loredan, built in the 13th century and currently seat of the Tow...View
Verona: The equestrian monument at Cangrande della Scala in Verona
One of the most famous people in the history of Verona is surely Cangrande della Scala, Lord of Verona from 1308 to 1329, the year of h...View