Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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".

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