People living in Venice, Italy have been utilizing gondolas to navigate the city’s various waterways for hundreds of years.
Historical Facts About Gondolas
There was a time when these unique vessels were the primary transportation on Venetian canals for residents of the city.
Most of the gondolas still in use today are used to carry tourists through the waterways. Many visitors are willing to pay the high prices for the opportunity to experience a ride in one of these long boats.
Most experts agree that the gondola was introduced somewhere around 1100 although some claim there is evidence of their use as far back as the 600s. A dozen oars were needed to propel the earliest versions through the water. The hull is shallow and sleek to allow movement through mud flats and the shallow canals. The overall size decreased in later years and a cabin, known as a felze, was added to the structure. People used to add elaborate decorations to their vessels and the result was so gaudy and unappealing that a law was passed during the 1500s banning the practice. Even in modern times, gondola owners are restricted in their self-expression. They are allowed a multi-pronged bow and the addition of two seahorses and a curly tail.
Squero de San Trovaso is one of just three boatyards in existence that still makes gondolas. The design is precise with the right side made shorter than the left side. This is so the vessel remains on a straight path and does not veer to the left when the gondolier is manipulating the oar. Builders follow very precise plans that have not changed in centuries.
Becoming a gondolier is not an option for everyone. Families pass down the profession generation after generation.
Most visitors to Venice will not consider their trip complete without a romantic gondola ride on the local canals. Once the primary form of transportation through the waterways, the water taxis, called vaporettis, are now more common for simply getting from one place to another. The gondolas play an important role in the tourist industry and ferry sightseers around the city. Many couples enjoy romantic rides and hundreds of them will become engaged during the voyage.
The local government dictates the cost of a gondola ride but some gondoliers do not follow the law. Some will want to negotiate price before taking on passengers. Visitors can expect to pay a high price for the privilege of riding on these historic vessels and the price goes up during peak season. Rides after dark are also more expensive.
Visitors will find gondola stands in various locations and can choose to travel along the bustling Grand Canal or one of the calmer side canals. Booking the ride through a hotel or travel agent will save the tourist from haggling with individual gondoliers.Take A Gondola Ride In Venice,