The most traditional Venetian boat is known as ‘Gondola,’ and it weighs about 700 kg. The gondola is built using 280 pieces of 8 different kinds of wood.
There is no weight limit or restriction for the gondola as long as the rider allows. Usually, the most amount of people would be 8 people to prevent the ride to be too shaky.
A gondola is about 142 m wide and 11m long homemade boat. It usually takes six months to build a gondola. The cost of a gondola is around 40,000 Euros. Traditional Venetian boats are built-in “Squeri.” The first gondola was used in Venice in the 11th century. Nowadays, almost 400 gondolas are in service, and tourists use all of them.
Similarities between Other Venetian Boats and Gondola
All the traditional rowing boats have three things in common.
- All the traditional Venetian boats are flat bottomed and don’t have a knee.
- The traditional Venetian boats don’t have a rudder.
- In all the boats, rowing is performed by standing up, looking forward, and pushing.
All these characteristics are common in all the traditional Venetian boats. All the rowing boats were built as a consequence of the shallow lagoon in which Venice was built. The absence of rudder and their flat bottom allow them to navigate over shallow waters. Standing position in rower allows choosing which route to take. Rowers can understand the water depth ahead by looking at the water waves. Apart from their beauty and elegance, there are lots of other factors that make a gondola superior over the other traditional Venetian boats.
Unique Features of Gondola
Two features of the gondola are well-known.
- The first one is “gondola is asymmetric.”
- The second one is “stirring from an elevated position.”
However, both these characteristics are not unique, and another but a lesser-known “pupparin” boat also has the same features. The shape of the gondola is unique and holds about 60% of the length submerged. Moreover, this rowing boat has two unique ornaments. The front ornament is not just used for decoration, but it is also for tradition. It balances the weight of gondolier at the stern. Gondolas remain a critical element of Venetian life for centuries. But with time, things are changing a bit.
The Gondolas in Venice Today
These traditional rowing boats still exist in Venice. The most famous gondola in Venice is the black boat. These are used for tours through the narrow canals of the city. Gondoliers offer visitors to visit through Venice for 25-30 minutes at a fixed price of 80 Euros. There are 280 to 300 gondolas today and more than 430 gondoliers.
Keep a few Things in Minds about Gondolas
- Not all the boats used for tours in Venice are gondolas. Without any doubt, gondolas are the most famous Venetian boats in Venice for tours. However, ‘Sandolo’ boats are also used for tours through Venice.
- All the gondolas are not black. In Venice, you will find gondolas in many different colors. Work gondolas must be black, but there are more than 100 gondolas that are not used for work.
- Like the other traditional Venetian boats, gondolas can be plain or colorful. Those gondolas that are used for leisure retain the color of the wood. You may find a few that are painted in black. Gondolas used for clubs are painted according to the colors of the club.
- Gondolas used for sports are less fancy than their cousins. Gondolas used for sports are stripped off everything that is not needed for the race. Boats used for sports have no floor, no seats, and no benches. Only wooden tiles are kept in competition boats on which the racers stand.
9 Things You Must Know About Gondolas
Just like the other transportation modes, the gondola is also one of the modes of public transportation. Gondolas run through the heart of Venice. So, here are the 9 most important things that you must know about gondolas.
Gondolas are almost 1000 years old. During the 16th century, the main mode of public transportation was gondolas. By the 18th century, there were nearly 10,000 gondolas in the country. Today, there are only 400 of them.
It should be surprising for you that the leaf-shaped gondolas are asymmetrical. The left side of each gondola is almost 10-inches long. This asymmetry provides a counterbalance with the weight of the gondolier.
To become a gondola driver, you need to get training of 400 hours. This training covers every aspect of rowing a boat. If you want to be a gondolier, you need to pass the arduous exam. Another surprising thing is only three to four new licenses are given per year.
You can’t wear anything of your liking to row a boat. The clothing of a gondolier is strictly regulated. You have to wear a white-colored shirt or striped T-shirts (black and white, red and white) in summer. In winters to save them from the chilly weather of Venice, gondoliers have to wear black colored reefer jackets.
Like your luxurious cars, these boats also need maintenance. Maintenance of these boats can be expensive. These gondolas need to be varnished every month to prevent them from pests that eat wood.
The city of Venice has a law that all the gondolas should have black color. This law was implemented a way back in the 16th century.
These boats have a length of 35 feet and weigh about 700 kg. It means the weight of these boats is more than the weight of an average horse.
It took hundreds of years for the beauty to row these boats. In 2010, the first license for rowing gondola was given to Giorgio Boscolo.
When you look at the gondola and compare it with other boats, you might think it is easy to make them, but it is not the case. Making of a gondola requires eight different kinds of wood and 280 components.
So, a gondola weighs about 700 kg. Whenever you got a chance to travel in a gondola, keep these amazing things in mind.