Saturday, August 28, 2010


After all these years of obsession, I've come to appreciate all the subtle differences between gondolas in Venice. To the untrained eye they may all look the same, but when you're a gondola fanatic, you develop an ability to discern minute differences in design and finish.

And then one day you see something like this:

That's anything but "subtle".

The carvings are actually classic in design - reminding me of some of the work Il Santo was made famous by.
I admired the boat owner's bold sense of style.

I also got a kick out of the expression on the face of one of his passengers.

I mean you'd have thought it was his boat and I needed to ask permission to talke pictures of it.

Taking a closer look at the workmanship here, there are a few other things to point out.

the spire of a gondola deck usually has some sort of trim stretching from the back of the ferro to the brass plate on the trasto di prua - carved "rope-work" is typical. This gondola has a very noticeable knob-like carving every eight inches or so.

The perimeter of the carved field has clouds or similar objects which make the edges more interesting. As if it wasn't a big enough job already, the intagliador went one step further, and gave the background a criss-cross pattern.
(To read more about intagliadors, see my post "What is a Wedding Gondola?" )

This gondolier was clearly on a mission to create a gondola like no other.
I'd say he succeeded.
The addition of an engraved design on the ferro just seems like standard issue on this boat.
Now here's something most of you probably haven't realized:
the boat we've been looking at here is the same one featured in my post "Barbarian Cavalli" .
Is it any surprise that this gondolier, after putting so much into his boat, would go with custom (and rather creative) cavalli.
I have a feeling that nobody could ever swipe this boat and get away with it. She's truly one-of-a-kind.

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