It's probably a safe bet that the gondoliers on the bench work at the Traghetto San Toma - one of Venice's best known traghetti today. The bench they are seated at is just steps away from "Calle del Traghetto". It's not an unusual name for a calle, in fact there are several of them in Venezia, and no doubt in centuries past there were many more, as in the 1820's the city had at least twenty of these canal-crossing ferry services along the Canalazzo, and many more servicing other areas.
This area was at one time also home to the old Scuola dei Calegheri, where the art of making shoes was taught and perfected. When she was carved, I'm not sure if the impressive relief-work on the wall had anything to do with calegheri, or some other locally represented group. But today, whether they realize it or not, the gondoliers of San Toma are under her protective cloak.
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