Monday, July 27, 2009

Golden Angel Gondola

Sitting in the front seat on the vaporetto, I shot this series of photos of a gondola, which definitely deserves a closer look.

As we were passing under the Rialto Bridge, some of Venice's most eye-catching gondolas came into view. The cavalli on this one caught my attention, and I snapped off a few shots.

Let's start with the bow:

What initially caught my eye here, was the gold-plated fixtures. Many gondolas have impressive cavalli, but few have something more than a little canon or flagstaff on the bow. The owner of this gondola didn't just choose a nice statue-like flag bearer, he had it gold plated, along with many of the other fixtures on the boat.

She has brass trim, and upon closer inspection, we see a handcarved deck which indicates that we're looking at a "wedding gondola". While they are used for weddings, these special gondolas also take passengers for hire on a daily basis, and are considered by some to be the most luxurious of all gondolas.

In this shot, you can see the shadow of the Rialto as it darkens the water in front of the gondola.

While it's a little detail to some, I like the striped remo.
I think it adds to the overall look here. And while I could be imagining it, the gondolier appears to have chosen a red that's just a touch darker than usual - thus matching the other red accents on the boat.

And there's no shortage of red accent here.
The gondolier's carpet, known as the "tapeto" matches the pom-poms, which match the rope they hang from, which also matches the cushions inside.

He's also got a forcola with hand-carved surfaces, accented with gold.

is anybody else out there developing a case of "Gondola Envy"?

Just about every detail of this boat is exceptional.
I see white lace around the main seat - it wouldn't surprise me if it's handmade stuff from Burano.
Atop the seat, sits a shiny gold scimier.

The "pusioli", which are the arm-pieces on either side of the salon are unique too, not only do they have hand-carved details, accented with gold paint or gold leaf, but the top-edge is adorned with a red and gold rope.

That rope matches the rope which trails from the cavalli.

It's hard to point out such details when they are so outshined by the cavalli:
big, heavy, trumpeting angel-mermaids, which appear to be plated in real gold.


Nice gondola.

If I owned that boat, I think I'd get an alarm system for her!


Tamas Feher from Hungary said...

- As for the alarm system, do people steal gondolas nowadays? Casanova claimed to have this habit as a teenager troublemaker, but that was 250 years ago.

- With regards to wedding gondolas I found a bit of curious info a few days ago and still don't know what to think about it.

"On the other side of Bacino San Marco there is Palladio's chiesa, on the Isola San Giorgio Maggiore. When a wedding takes place there, a very large white gondola whisks the new bride and groom across the Grand Canal. This wedding gondola is so large, it requires two gondoliers."

Is this fact or urban legend? A white wedding gondola would seem extraordinary, unless the San Giorgio Maggiore church received some special indulgence to allow the use of colour?

What does very large mean? I think wedding gondolas are always rowed by two remiere when used for actual wedding traffic?

Did the author mean "traghetto-sized" gondola by saying it requires two people to row it? Maybe it's not a gondola, but a caorlina?

Gondola Greg said...

Hi Tamas.
The crack about an alarm was just a joke.

As for "white gondolas", where the heck did you read that?

Tamas Feher from Hungary said...

White wedding gondola, it's mentioned here.

By the way, gondola theft must be pretty rare in Venezia nowadays, if one such case got publicity 35 years later.

Sean Jamieson said...

I'd love to see that large white wedding gondola if it exists.

I used to like rowing the white boat in Long Beach before it was painted black and the Venetian hotel has a white "gondola" for weddings.

Now. White pants. That's something.

Gondola Greg said...

I wear white pants!

Tamas Feher from Hungary said...

Why isn't every gondola a wedding gondola? I mean rich decorations are probably a competitive advantage even in regular tourist use, which more then off-sets the higher investment and the extra maintenance.

Maybe there is a downside, e.g. the many carvings and the ornamental headrest make the boat top-heavy and difficult to manouver, compared to a minimal-parecio gondola?