Gondolas, a tourist’s dream!
A hallmark symbol of Venice, who has never dreamt of riding on one of these marvels of craftsmanship, whose charms have withstood the test of time?
The components (approximately 280) of these extraordinary craft still bear their almost fairytale-like names of the past: ‘sankòni', ‘fiùboni', ‘solarai' and ‘maistre'... To name but a few. Tradition has it that each gondolier has his own gondola, custommade according to his weight and height.
Among the most ancient boatyards (or 'squeri'), the most remarkable is perhaps that of Domenico Tramontin and Sons. Established in 1884, it was the supplier to the House of Savoy, the Prefecture and the Commune of Venice (Dorsoduro, 1542. www.tramontingondole.it). An interesting feature that you are bound to notice on a gondolier's uniform is the logo. Its most recent version was created by the Style Department of Duca d'Aosta, a shop established in 1902 in the Rialto neighbourhood by Emilio Ceccato. The logo features St. Mark as the Winged Lion, holding an open book, a symbol of peace and strength, framed by two 'ferri' – the traditional iron gondola prow ornaments (also known in Venetian as 'fero da próva' or 'dolfin').
Bringing one home as a keepsake is neither easy (nor cheap!), but you can avoid this by purchasing a souvenir created ad hoc. Where? At Emilio Ceccato's clothing and accessory store, the official supplier and technical sponsor of the Associazione Gondolieri di Venezia (The Gondolier's Association of Venice) in San Polo 16/17
(T: 041 5222700) and in San Marco, 257 (T: 041 8478885).