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History of Gondola

Worldwide, the gondola is the only unique vessel, in that it is made up of many different types of wood.

There are 280 different pieces of wood, each with a particular role and a particular name

From the beginning of time, it has always been made by the Master Boat Builder in the numerous boatyards, unfortunately, most of which have disappeared through the ages. The San Trovaso Boatyard, is however, still in use and stands the test of time

The art of gondola making became quite specialised, and actual art school. The boatyards became vital elements of the city, all-identifiable for their wooden building, with their boat landings/piers inclined into the canal for easy access to the water

There is an antique 1500 map of Venice, which shows all these boatyards. The two boatyards which were once next to San Moisè have closed own. The largest boatyard in Venice, is the one found at the "Arsenale", due to its large size, it was actual a military boatyard

In 1094 the gondola was know as "Godulam". The Doge Vitale Falier ( The Head of State) had donated some gondolas to a few Venetians, in order for easier access from one part of town to another. From 1500, to 1800, up to our present times, the gondola has changed slightly in its design.
In the beginning, the gondola was painted in vibrant colours and there were adorned in many precious fabrics and materials. The gondola became so lavish and elegant( as each owner tried to out do the other ) that a law passed the Venetian senate, decreed that al gondolas were to be painted black ……

And thus, even today, the gondola has maintained the same stoic black colour. The gondola was mainly used as the primary transportation vessel fro the Venetians. Noble Venetian families had one or more gondola's, with a gondolier at their service. He was seen as an able, loyal and trustworthy worker. With great pride and passion, these virtues have been painstakingly maintained …..

One of the oldest parts of the gondola is the "Felze", it was eventually removed in order to provide better visibility. It was a demountable small wooden cabin, used to provide privacy and during the long, cold winter months, it provided warmth and protection

The gondoliers rowing style is called "Voga alla Veneta", that is " Venetian Style Rowing". They use one oar, which requires grace and balance. Even though the gondoliers stance may appear unstable, he is able to glide her through the narrow canals, with little effort, without ever touching the Palaces

To go to the right, you will hear the gondolier call out "Stagando" and to go the left, they yell "Premando"…. and upon coming across an intersection he must call out "OEH"

Whenever it is possible, the gondola can be maneuvered under most

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