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 legend of the Engraved Heart of the Scuola Grande di San Marco
Mysteries & Legends
In the age-old stones of Venice lie incredible stories, fascinating legends and forgotten memories that are nestled in every corner of ...View
Venice: The Camel’s House in the Cannaregio district
If you take a walk in the Cannaregio district you might come across a camel, clearly not a camel in the flesh, but one depicted in a pa...View
Venice: The Last Supper by Veronese at the Gallerie dell'Accademia
The twelve rooms of the Gallerie dell'Accademia host many works of art from the Veneto Region and the city of Venice made by renowned a...View
Venice: Attila's throne in the Isle of Torcello in Venice
Mysteries & Legends
Torcello, the first Venice island to be inhabited, is rich of legends and interesting stories, such as Attila – the King of the Huns ...View