Monday, September 29, 2014

Celeste Green

photo by Tim Jones
It's not quite seafoam green, and Tiffany blue is close, but too blue.
It's known as "Celeste Green" by anyone who knows anything about Bianchi bicycles or road cycling in general.

Edoardo Bianchi started building bikes in 1885, and his company is one of the oldest bicycle companies in existence. 

I'm sure this color appeared in other places before, but the bikes from the Bianchi bicycle company became the most closely associated with it. 
When Italian racer Fausto Coppi won a big race in Europe on a Celeste Green frame, it became their most popular color.  

The color is now more representative of the Bianchi company than Caterpillar Yellow is to the tractor and equipment company of the same name.

In the early 80's I became a fan of the color because I was crazy about cycling.
The fact that my brother had a poster of Kathy Ireland wearing a bikini in this color may have also contributed to my affinity at the time.

There are numerous theories and/or myths about the choice 
and the naming of the color:
- It is said that Edoardo Bianchi built a bicycle for the queen, and that he matched the paint to the color of her eyes.

- Bianchi began in Milan, Italy, and some say that Celeste Green is supposed to be the color of the sky in Milan.  I've been to Milano, and I didn't see a green sky, but then I wasn't there a hundred years ago.

- Some say that the company was close to folding and didn't have much money, so they mixed all their paints together and this light green hue is what they got.

- Rumors have swirled about how it was military surplus paint 
(possibly a mixture of two or more colors).

- I've heard that it began as the paint used to coat the underside of aircraft so they'd be harder to spot in the air in wartime.  We get our word "celestial" (meaning of the heavens) from the same Latin root, so there could be a connection to the sky or paint for the underside of a plane.

- Lastly, it is rumored that the color was named after Edoardo's daughter who was named Celeste.

My younger daughter has Celeste as her middle name - hearkening back to a great grandmother on my wife's side.  It's not unusual in Italian families.

The color, however is unusual...especially on a gondola.
In a world of red or blue floorboards, I absolutely love seeing this color.
It looks even better with the contrasting dark green and varnished wood areas.
The guy who owns this boat has clearly put a lot of work and thought into his gondola.
The portela alone says that this is a boat that's owned by a guy who is detail oriented and loves his gondola.
The decorative carved piece between the forward trastolini, with it's painted carvings, almost looks like something from an alpine cabin.

I love this color.
Edoardo Bianchi would be proud.
Fausto Coppi would be proud.
Heck, Kathy Ireland would be proud.

I wonder if this guy mixed the paint himself or got it from Bianchi.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Looking Up

photo by Tim Jones

What we see here is just one of a million classic snapshots 
taken in Venice - each one of them beautiful and inviting.

Based on the clothing worn by the gondolier and his passengers, 
I'm guessing this photo was shot during one of the colder months, 
or on a day that inspired the gondolier to go with a black jacket 
(the standard outer layer for gondoliers in winter).

There are so many other details here to appreciate:
first the sandoli.
Right next to the bow of the gondola is a nice shiny sandolo.

And further back there's another sandolo with a yellow tapestry-cloth seat.
Coming around the corner we see the bow of another gondola appearing, 
and a big blue moto-topo.
Interesting boat: the moto-topo.  
She is the venetian equivalent to a delivery truck in La Serenissima.
Upon closer inspection, we see that this particular topo is one of Venice's UPS trucks. Yes, she even has a UPS sticker on the side.

Mounted to the wall above the topo, we see two of those big convex mirrors as featured in the post "Mirror Mirror on the Wall".

Further over to the left there's another ubiquitous craft: a sanpierota.
Some things have changed over the years.
These were originally sailed or rowed, but there are a lot of outboard motors hanging off the backs of them these days.

Meanwhile, hanging above the doorway to the building in front of that 
sanpierota is another vestige of the past:
The load bearing beam extending out over the water was once probably 
used to hoist and move heavy items in and out of boats.  
These same beams can be seen protruding from the tops of barns - they're great for hoisting bales of hay.

Getting back to the boat in the foreground, we see lots of beautiful details.
First of all she's a wedding gondola, with fully carved decks. 
Tapestry-cloth seating, red pom-poms and three-dimensional cavalli of the horse-with-crown style.
This gondolier even has a striped remo.  Very nice.

A felze is that black hump-like housing that protects the passengers 
from cold in winter and from prying eyes as well.

It is said that the gondola lost her felze when she became a tourist boat.
Understand that this was not always the case - gondolas were private coaches and they were carriages-for-hire.  Most of the people who rode in gondolas were Venetians.  In winter it wasn't important to see the city as it went by.

At some point gondola rides became "the thing to do" for travelers, 
and because visitors are more interested in seeing this beautiful city, 
the felze covers slowly dwindled away.

You'll still see them now and then.
It's usually on display in a museum or on a gondola during a parade procession, but they aren't popular with tourists because they interfere with their ability to look up - just like the guy in the passenger seat is doing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Just the Photo - Squero San Trovaso

photo by Tim Jones
Here's a nice shot taken recently from across the canal of 
Venice's most well-known squero.

The early boat builders in Venice were not from the lagoon - they were mountain people.
They came from the same place the wood came from.

That Tyrolean heritage is visible even today, in the architectural style of the buildings at Squero San Trovaso.

Friday, September 19, 2014

New Seat Design Gets a New Cover

photo by Tim Jones

While in Venice recently, Tim Jones snapped some great photos of gondolas.
One of those gondolas had a seat we've seen before.
I first posted about this in
The controversial "new seat design"

It's a similar seat to the ones in that post, but a different boat.
There are several differences in parecio.
Sure, those are pieces that can be replaced by others,
but the deck trim and trasto picolo are different, 
plus, the one in the earlier post has no caenelo.

We're looking at yet another boat with this "park bench" type of seat in it.

When it comes to Venetian boats, I'm a bit of a traditionalist.
I prefer the original stuffed cushions with black yarn-fringe.

But I'm beginning to understand the appeal of this new "bench" to a guy who's tired of fussing over upholstery and looking for a more streamlined solution.
Still, I didn't care much for the aesthetics of it...until I saw it with a tapestry cloth draped over it.

This is a good look.

As a side note, the stripes on the remo are unique, 
the carvings on the trasto picolo are unlike most I've seen, 
and that's an impressive scimier mounted on the back of the seat.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Passenger Sandolo in Action

Tamás Fehér sent me a link to this little snippet of Venetian boating.
Here we see a sandolista offloading his passnegers boat-to-boat 

as interesting boats pass by in the background. 

Based on the activity on the water, 
I'm guessing this was shot around Regata Storica time.

Kiss Like You Mean It!

photo by Cassandra Mohr

Rowing a gondola for the past twenty-plus years, I've seen a lot of:
beautiful sunsets, great surprises, and a whole lot of kisses.

There are the timid couples, the proper ones, the warm-but measured ones,
and then there are the couples who's kisses are legendary.

They kiss like they mean it,
like it matters.
They kiss like they're in a movie,
like they might die tomorrow so they'll live for today.

Not everyone kisses like this, but everyone should.
You commit yourself completely to the kiss,
Let the passion run through you,
and kiss like you really mean it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bookmark Photo

Sometimes you snap a shot and start cropping, only to find that the image
looks best in a tall and thin shape.  Such was the case with this shot of
Steve Elkins this evening out on the waters of Newport.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Just the Photo - Late Night Serenity

 photo by Tim Jones

Tim Jones captured this perfect moment in Venice not long ago.
If you're like me, you took one look at this and immediately wanted to row down that serene waterway.

The second thing you probably did was look carefully at the bridge, asking yourself if it looked high enough to pass under at this tide level.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Nereo's Gallery

While I was sitting at home watching Regata Storica on my TV, 
Nereo Zane was enjoying the whole experience, 
while sitting on a boat in the Grand Canal.

He got some good shots of the racers, but what I really love about this 
gallery of photos is the feeling he captured - with shots of spectators, 
locals in their boats, and the young rowers competing in their own races.

Bravo Nereo!

Friday, September 12, 2014


The U.S. Gondola Nationals is approaching faster than I can train for it.
I had a fantastic conversation with Marcello yesterday about some of the 
plans and details involved.

Tim did a great job with this event last year, and it's clear that the folks in Providence are going to give him a run for his money in the area of planning and hospitality.

As a teaser, here's a photo of the medals which many of us will compete for.

To keep up to date on the USGN, 
like and visit the facebook page of La Gondola in Providence

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11th Sunset

Reading over so many accounts of individual 9/11 experiences, 
there was one theme that stood out to me today: 
it was the "this changes everything" statement.

Some newscasters even went as far as to say those exact words thirteen years ago today, and many more have said it since then.
And yes, it did change everything...for a time.
It changed a few things in a more long term way.

But we persevere.      We carry on.     That's who we are.

It's important to realize that if we allow those people who caused the horrors of September 11th to change our world, change our outlook, change our very way of living and thinking and hoping - then they have won.

But if we carry on, loving each other and savoring every moment of our precious lives despite what they did - then they've lost.

Tonight I met a couple who inspired me:
They were celebrating their 21st anniversary and had been married many years before the 9/11 that we all know.  They didn't let the attacks affect how they observed the date in the years that followed 2001.
Tonight I was honored to have them aboard my gondola and we all enjoyed a brilliant sunset sky and the colors that followed.

Nolite Oblivisci - Never Forget

Over the years I've done my best to bring you fresh content 
and new photos (and sometimes newly-found ones).
I don't like to repeat myself or use the same images unless it's warranted.

Today it is.

Today we commemorate a moment in time that unexpectedly
changed the world.

It's a "where were you when...?" point in our history.

Many may try to forget, or wish they could forget,
but we must never forget the events of September 11th, 2001.

By events, I'm not just talking about the terrorism and tragedies.
We must also remember the heroics, the sacrifices, the selfless acts
carried out by fire and police personnel as well as everyday people.

We must remember how we felt and to never
allow this to happen again - to us or others.

I believe that people are truly at their best...
                                           when circumstances are the worst.

I will never forget the sight of Congress, all of them, with all of their political differences, standing on the steps of the Capitol building (probably for the very first time) in full agreement.
I remember hearing the phrase "We are all New Yorkers now".

Sure, I remember the tragedy.
I will never forget the horror.
But I also remember the unity, the resolve,
and the brotherhood that followed.

As people, as groups, as nations - we need to love each other more.
As Americans - we need to protect our home.
As free-thinking human beings - we must also do our all to keep this kind of tragedy from happening to others, no matter where they live.

We must remember it all: the bad and the good.
"Nolite Oblivisci"
We must never forget.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Regata Storica 2014

I really do love where I live, and there are only a few other places I wish I could be.  A change in season or a language barrier usually dampens any longing I might have to live somewhere else.  Oh, but there are times when the grass, as they say, is definitely greener somewhere else.
This week it was Venice.
I truly wish I could have been there (living or just visiting) to be part of the amazing event that is Regata Storica.

Like most years, I was able to catch the RAI SAT feed through Dish Network.
You have to have a second dish to get it, and I justify the expense by saying that I'll be watching Italian TV shows throughout the year, 
but the truth is that I'd keep the second dish just for this one event.
This year, more than any other, it was worth it.

Some of you reading this are already aware of some of the details of the event, but just so everyone is on the same page, I'll lay some things out for you.

The festivities begin with a parade - an "historic regatta".
Yep, that does translate into "Regata Storica".
This is a re-enactment of an event that took place in 1489 when the wife of the king of Cypress renounced her throne in favor of Venice.  
This was a very big deal. 
Whether in the 1400's or the year 2014, when someone in royalty renounces their throne in favor of another country, It's big news.
I'm guessing that the folks in Cypress weren't thrilled, 
but clearly the Venetians were.
They launched a welcome parade which included the Doge, 
and pretty much everyone else who was important.

And while the festivities might begin with this great procession, 
the day really begins before dawn for many lagoon residents, 
who board their boats and row or motor into the city to be part of it all.
Some rowers come in club boats and full uniforms to join in the parade - this is something every serious rower should do at least once.  
It's not as much rowing as the Vogalonga, but it's a fantastic experience.

So why do all these people (thousands really) all come into La Serenissima? And why are they joined by thousands more on shore, on rooftops, and populating windows and balconies?
Well, we talked about the "Storica" part,
now let's talk about the "Regata" part.

After the brightly colored procession of 16th century boats has made its way down the Canale Grande, the races begin.

Oh sure, like all Italians, Venetians love soccer (depending on where you live, you might call it "football" or "futbol" - they call it "calcio").  But as much as they love their "calcio", fill the city with residents of the lagoon, and launch the gondolini, and you'll know which sport is nearest to their hearts.

Let's back up just a little bit further.
Trust me, it's worth it.
Before the big parade in 1489, centuries before that in fact, Venice was a great maritime power.  
Her wealth came from sea trade, and her might came from her navy.

Training and competing in rowing contests was a military thing.
Back then, if your ship could row faster than the enemy's ship, you won.
Then, as now, rowing was the most important sport in Venice.
The first historic regata took place in the 13th century.
We believe that Venetians were racing their boats long before that.
Come one, think about it: you've got a group of guys who all row the same kind of boat.
They're sitting around talking about who's the best, and a contest is the natural next step.

In fact the word "regatta" comes from the Venetian word for a fight or contest. The only difference is that they only spell it with one "t".

These days there's a regata season, which begins earlier in the year.
It's kind of like formula one or horse racing: competitors enter and compete in several regatas around the lagoon.  The ones who have fared the best, get to compete on the big stage - right down the Grand Canal.

There are four events:
Pupparini - these are rowed by young men (the "giovanni") and the guys, are typically the future of the sport.  The pupparino is an elongated member of the sandolo family.  With a raised deck (like that of a gondola), this boat is known as a training platform for a gondolier. In this race, the boat is rowed by two guys.

Mascarete - the mascareta is light and maneuverable. She is arguably one of the most fun boats to row.  In Regata Storica, the mascareta event is a women's race.  Competitors from around the lagoon compete in teams of two.

Caorline - taking her name from Caorle - the city she originates from, the caorlina is the biggest, and by far the heaviest of the boats that compete in Regata Storica.  Rowed by six men, these boats may be big and heavy, but they move!  The wave created by the bow of the vessel is proof alone.

Gondolini - A gondolino is a sort of racing gondola.  There is another class of gondola (which has the same dimensions as a passenger gondola but is lighter) - but this is not that boat.  The gondolino is a long, spindly, high-speed, balancing act disguised as a racing boat. Like the pupparini and mascarete, the gondolini are raced by two rowers.  The men who row these are held in the highest regard in the world of voga-alla-Veneta. 

Each race includes nine boats, and each boat is a different color.  
This makes it much easier to discern who is in the lead and who is trying to take that lead from them.
The colors are, in no particular order: red, violet, orange, pink, white, maroon, yellow, light blue, and green

The Grand Canal is in the shape of a backwards "S".
The races each begin in the basin off the bottom of that "S", off the shore of Castello in an area where many of the boats in Vogalonga start out from.
From there, the boats head west up that "S", pass under the Accademia Bridge, and then they pass the judging platform.  This platform is towed in and placed there for the event.  Everyone and everything in Venezia seems to have at least one nickname.  The Judging platform is affectionately referred to as "La Machina" (the machine); it's located about a third of the way between the Accademia and the Rialto Bridges.
The route passes under the Rialto, then it's a race to the pole which is located in front of the train station.
In the mascareta race, the boats turn at a floating marker which is a little closer to the Rialto.
After the turn, it's a race back down the Grand Canal to a finish in front of the "Machina".

Alright, now that we've laid out some of the details, we're off to the races.
Well, I thought I was, until I started the event on my DVR and realized that I'd missed the pupparino race.

All the same, from there on out it was a remarkable spectacle of Venetian rowing.
The women, in their small and maneuverable boats charged through the course, and fought valiantly for positioning.
For several years I've watched the team of Luisella Schiavon and Giorgia Ragazzi win this race handily.  This year they rowed a violet boat and ended up getting passed fairly early by the team of Valentina Tosi and Debora Scarpa in a red boat.  It was an energetic chase all the way to the finish line. Schiavon and Ragazzi are a remarkable pair of rowers, and I really didn't think anyone could beat them.  My hat is off to them for all they've accomplished over the years, and also of course to Tosi and Scarpa in the red mascareta. All of the competitors fought hard and deserve recognition.

Next it was the caorlina event.
Unlike the other categories, each boat in this event was powered by members of a particular club or organization.
Pretty much right from the starting point, which is out in the San Marco Basin, it was the yellow boat with men from the Remiera Jesolo out in front.
The orange boat with rowers from Vogaepara - from Mazzorba was on their tail not long after, and through to the finish, it was yellow, then orange.  
The rainbow of boats continued to pass by the judges stand. Third place - maroon, fourth place - pink, then red, light blue, white, violet, finally green.

In between the big races there were head-to-head competitions between "galeoni" - these are rowed by crews of eight (six men, two women).  
They sit facing the stern and row in what we call a more English style, 
while someone standing on the stern steers while barking at them 
(depending on the boat, those may be encouraging or insulting words).
I happened to be watching this year's Regata Storica while sitting on a traditional rowing machine, so these short races between university teams encouraged me to pull harder and faster.

Finally, it was time for the big one, 
the Venetian equivalent to the Superbowl - the gondolini.

There are many great champions who's names are spoken in reverent tones in traghetti and among rowing club members - most have competed in, and won multiple times in this storied race that dates back generations.
Often they have been "the biggest thing on the water" with all others trailing behind them, but not always.
Today we happen to have two of these teams, and they have been fighting over first place in the historic regata for well over a decade.
The team of Rudi and Igor Vignotto, often called the "Cugini" because they are cousins,  and the team of Gianpaolo D'Este and Ivo Redolfi Tezzat have been duking it out since 2002.  
Prior to that, Gianpaolo D'Este (known by many as "Gigante" and "Super D'Este") was rowing with Bruno Dei Rossi (also known as "Strigheta").  
That team bumped heads (and remi) with the "Cugini"in the early 90's.  
This is a rivalry some would say beats that of the Yankees and Red Sox.
There has been shouting, I've heard that there's been spitting, and more than anything...there's been racing.  Nothing makes you go faster than the presence of a competitor trying to go faster than you.

This year, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the gondolini started off like they always do: in their designated starting lanes before falling into a group to splash their way down the Canalazzo.
The Vignotto cousins had a bit of a lead as thee boats were rowing in their lanes, but by the time the race was passing Piazza San Marco, it was clear that they would need to throttle up if they wanted to keep that edge.  The Cugini were in a red gondolino, D'Este and Tezzat were rowing a green one.
As the pack of gondolini passed under the Accademia Bridge it was red and green, side-by-side.  Not long after that a third pink gondolino came up parallel to them, the brothers Roberto and Renato Busetto rowing hard to make it three across.
It was a beautiful thing, and honestly, if they hadn't been rowing so fast, 
it might have looked parade-like to an outsider.
By the time the group passed the judges platform the pink boat had fallen back behind the red and green.
The Cugini and D'Este/Tezzat teams rowed in a dead heat all the way down the Grand Canal.
There may have been a few instances where one gondolino had a lead, 
but it was only by a foot or two and was quickly remedied by the men 
on the other boat.

The course for the gondolini follows the Grand Canal to a post near the train station and then the racers go back towards the finish line - which is between the Rialto and Accademia bridges, but much closer to the Accademia.
As everyone watched the two gondolini powering down the canal towards the pole, it occurred to anyone who has ever raced, well, pretty much anything, that when they reached that pole, the boat on the inside of the turn would have the advantage.  In this case it was the Cugini.
To a non-rower it might not have been all that remarkable to see both boats turn side-by-side around that pole, but that's just what they did.
The Cugini took the turn as tight as any competitors would wish to, but the green boat was right alongside them, leaving enough room for the oars, but otherwise following the same line on a slightly wider arc.
D'Este and Tezzat surprised a lot of people when they made that turn.
A few meters later they were right back to the grudge match that they'd been fighting just thirty seconds ago. 
This race is eight Kilometers from start to finish. 
It's not a sprint, and there have been plenty of hard lessons learned in this and other endurance races.
You've got to establish a pace that you can win with...and keep it.
As the two teams worked their way under the Rialto Bridge, you could see the fatigue setting in.
They powered on.
The Cugini managed to snatch a foot or two of advantage a few times.
At one point they were edging into a meter's length of lead, only to have D'Este and Tezzat close it down to a foot.
Next there was a small skirmish where the boats got too close.
It's hard to say who's fault it was, although I'm sure there are plenty of people with opinions on the matter.
Shortly after that, the red and green gondolini put some distance between each other and the mad dash to the finish was on.
I think the best way to describe this might be to say:
Imagine running a marathon, and then finishing with a sprint.
You could tell they were tired.
You could tell that both teams wanted  to win.
More than that, both teams wanted to beach each other.
What you couldn't tell, was how difficult it is to row a gondolino,
because from start to finish, both teams made it look so easy.

In the end, we all saw a classic "photo finish".
This photo, shamelessly snatched from the facebook page of someone 
else who snatched it by taking a picture of their TV.  Don't sue me.

At the end of this grueling side-by-side fight for dominance, it was the guys on the green boat who, in the last twenty seconds, managed to out-row their rivals on the red boat.

The 2014 Regata Storica champions are Gianpaolo D'Este and Ivo Redolfi Tezzat. 
Second place (by about a foot!) goes to the cousins Rudi and Igor Vignotto.
While the rivals in the red and green boats were trying to beat each other, they managed to get ahead of the rest of the boats by a margin, but the brothers Roberto and Renato Busetto stayed close and earned a respectable third place finish.

I considered populating this post with lots of images, but I would have to snatch more photos that weren't mine.
If you want to see more images, you can search Regata Storica 2014 and there's plenty of great footage out there.

To read all the names and placings of each race (including the pupparini), go to:
or visit and navigate around.

Regata Storica 2014.
I sure do wish I could have been there.
But maybe next year I'll manage to - I'm sure the rivalry will continue.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

You may recognize the mirror in the photo.
They can be found in tight parking garages and convenience stores.
They allow store owners to spot shoplifters,
and drivers to see around corners - to avoid collisions with other cars.

With five hundred or more gondolas navigating the tight canals of Venice, it's no surprise that at some point someone thought about mounting some of these convex mirrors in strategic they could avoid some collisions of their own.

A friend of a friend sent this nice shot - a self portrait of sorts.
The guy who snapped the photo is known as Sandro and I'm told he works out of Bacino Orseolo (the fold-down-tail of the boat fits that location).

Whoever you are, Sandro, we salute you.
Thanks for the great photo, showing us a clever view from your perspective.

Friday, September 5, 2014


Technology, Entertainment, Design.
Put the first letters of these three together and you get "TED".
Sound familiar?
Yeah, me too, my grandfather's name was Ted.
I had a stuffed animal bear with that name too.
Oh, and then there are the increasingly well-known "TED Talks".
There are several variations, including the TED-ed video clips.
My friend Laura Morelli has recently posted a fun and informative video to that collection:

It's a fun and educational piece of video.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Siesta in Stripes

This one comes from Venice by an anonymous source.
It's a great true-to-life snap from both Venetian life
and the life of a gondolier.

If you row, then you know exactly how this guy feels - we've all been there.

In fact much of Italy recognizes the value of a good afternoon nap, 
and like Mexico, they call it a "siesta".

In full disclosure, before I wrote this...I stole a ninety minute nap of my own. Hey, I had to get into the siesta mindset.
I'd also like to steal the pusioli off that guy's gondola - those are some fantastic carvings.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Parker at Dusk

Just a quick snap with my phone as I noticed Parker Harrison 
of the Gondola Co. of Newport heading up into the canals.

It was a gorgeous evening out on the water tonight in Newport.

Parker is a great gondolier who I've shared the water with for 
several years now - read more about him in my post "The Surprise Boys".

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Just the Photo - Golden Reflection

A few days ago I shot this of Simon under the Newport Blvd. bridge with my Nikon and a long lens.
For a 300 yard reach, I'm pretty happy with it.
I was even more happy to see the colors of the sunset sky reflecting 
off the surface of the water beneath the bridge.

Outside the Box

photos by Tim Jones

Venice is filled with fantastic boats.
There are many types to admire, but we concentrate mostly on gondolas here.

There are some standard decoration and design parameters, 
but every now and then someone thinks outside the box.
This post is about one such gondola.

Looking at the above photo, can you guess which one we're talking about?
Mhmm. Red seats, varnished wood, gold cavalli.

I have to thank my friend Tim Jones for these photos.
I'm impressed with his eye for things,
and jealous that I wasn't able to see this gorgeous boat in person.

Like most of her floating sisters, she's got an iconic ferro blade and the traditional elements we've come to expect in a hull.

This hull appears to have been built at the famous and prolific Cantieri Crea, as is evidenced by the gilded carving on the caenelo.

 Now let's look at the things that make this gondola so remarkable.

This is not the first gondola I've seen with red seats, but these are some nice ones and the ropes and pom-poms tie things together nicely.

The gold plated cavalli are fantastic - some of the nicest I've seen.
Ahh, but it's what those cavalli are mounted on that had me gazing at the photo for a good five minutes:
Intricately carved and fully varnished pusioli.

The bancheta (small bench), and careghin (special gondola chair) are also varnished.  It looks like the floorboards are partially finished out in varnish too - showing the beautiful wood grain.

The term we use for all of these items is "parecio" - parts of the gondola which are removable.

A heck of a long time ago, some very important Venetians mandated that gondolas were not to be painted, and because these boats were treated with pitch for waterproofing at the time, they were naturally black.
I'm not sure if it was approved or if gondola builders just started painting the boats black and got away with it.
To this day, gondolas are required to remain black,
buuuut, there are those removable pieces, and who says that they have to be black?
The owner of this gondola seems to have taken full advantage of that wonderful loophole.
He's also incorporated fodra boards with intricate paintings depicting a rowing regata with Venice in the background.

I'd like to thank Tim Jones for these photos.
I'd also like to thank the owner of this boat for 
leaving me with a severe case of "gondola envy".