Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ferro Forum

The gondola is the most iconic boat of Venice, and some say the most recognizable vessel in the world.  Riding at the tip of her bow, the end-iron known as a ferro, is arguably the most recognized part of the boat.

Like most parts of the gondola, they all appear to be the same until you take a closer look.  But like cavalli, deck trim, and many other parts of the gondola, there are different versions of the ferro.

Stainless steel and aluminum are the most common materials used, but there are others seen here and there.
Most have six fingers forward and one facing back, but we've observed five in front, a few times, even four.
Lots of ferri have decorative pieces between some of the forward fingers. Other ferri have a simpler approach.
Engravings, incised fields, mounted emblems, and other adornments make appearances here and there too.
In many cases it could be said that the ferro of a gondola says a lot about the guy who owns the boat.

So what's your favorite ferro design?
If you were putting together a gondola and could choose the design, or if you had to replace a ferro on your gondola, what details would you include?


Tamás said...

I would prefer a ferro that is attached to a gondola capable of getting from Bergamo to Venezia in just under 2 hours.

I think any such gondola would be painted rosso and have prancing cavalli, if one exists at all.

Do you have any other suggestions for the route, not including use of helicopter, rocket or teleportation devices?

Tamás said...

Ferro forum? Hmm, that makes me remember something that sounds similar. A good while ago there was a company here, named Ferroglobus, which manufactured prefabricated elevated water towers, made of spherical steel.

Therefore I wonder if "3D" ferro for gondolas have ever existed in spherical or any other shape, rather than the usual "2D" sheet metal prow?

Maybe there have been some with "parata" boats used for celebratory processions, but not on regular venetian boats.

Unknown said...

My parents emmigrated to Canada from Italy many years ago. Growing up we had a gondola ferro displayed proudly on the front of our home. It has long since gone and no one knows where it went or even where it came from. I would like preserve this small part of my family's heritage but finding a ferro is rather difficult. If you have any idea of where I can purchase one it would help my search a great deal.

soundwheels said...

I have a wooden kayak that I am considering fashioning a Ferro for, so I have been collecting info on them. I may do something similar, since I'm not an Italy freak. I just think they are very beautiful. I'll most likely do something in wood, not metal.