The gondola symbolizes Venice
Not everyone knows that the bow iron of a gondola (also known as ‘pettine') symbolize the six ‘sestieri' (districts) of Venice. During the golden age of the Serenissima, a typical Venetian craft was also a symbolic means of communication, testifying to the artistic, historic and cultural grandeur of the city. More specifically, the upper part recalls the Doge's hat, the lunette above the tooth represents the Rialto Bridge, the double ‘S' bending running from the highest to the lowest point of the ‘iron' represents the Grand Canal, a kind of tooth that extends back towards the centre of the gondola indicates the Giudecca, while below the main blade, 6 ‘rebbi' (prongs) reference the sestieri of Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Marco, San Polo and Santa Croce. The iron featured in more recent constructions has been enhanced by the addition of three new finishes, representing the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. Generally comprised of 280 different pieces, made from 8 different types of wood, a gondola usually takes about one year to build. In bygone days, gondolas were built and stored in small shipyards known as ‘squeri'.