Sunday, October 12, 2008

Two Wedding Gondolas in Venice

I shot this image a few years ago near San Marco.

Venice is full of beautiful gondolas.
Each one has her own unique character.

The parecio alone would set these two apart.
The "scimiers" on both boats are incredible - a scimier is that decorative piece mounted at the top of the seat-back.

Don't miss the varnished wood floorboards in the gondola on the right.
But it was the carved decks that really caught my eye and made me grab my camera to shoot this photo.

A wedding gondola is not too different from other passenger gondolas.
the dimensions are the same.
The parecio is usually of high quality.
The extra features on the boat are almost always there, and they go above and beyond the "stock" standard.
I'm way beyond judging boats and deeming one better than the other.
each gondola has her own story and they all have histories that are worthy of contemplation.
But my first Venice-built gondola was a wedding gondola, so there's a place in my heart for anything with a hand-carved bow.

The trademark of a wedding gondola is the decks.
"Fiuboni" is the term used by gondola builders for the decks - both fore and aft.
The fiuboni are usually made of mahogany, sometimes cedar.
Both woods are hard to carve.
Before a wedding gondola is complete, a special carver is called upon.
These craftsmen are known as a "intagiadóri".
They report to the squero to give special attention th the decks of the gondola in question.
Different intagiadóri have their distinct ways of carving the decks, some specialize in scroll-work, others depict allegorical characters - often Poseidon, mermaids, and other sea-based icons.

When I saw these two gondolas, with their hand-carved decks, reaching for my camera was automatic.

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