Silhouette di gondolieri contro il tardo sole sul Canal Grande vicino alla Chiesa di Santa Maria del Giglio
“Silhouette of Gondoliers against the late sun on the Grand Canal near the Church of Santa Maria del Giglio”…
“Venice” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
WHITE swan of cities, slumbering in thy nest
So wonderfully built among the reeds
Of the lagoon, that fences thee and feeds,
As sayeth thy old historian and thy guest!
White water-lily, cradled and caressed
By ocean streams, and from the silt and weeds
Lifting thy golden pistils with their seeds,
Thy sun-illumined spires, thy crown and crest!
White phantom city, whose untrodden streets
Are rivers, and whose pavements are the shifting
Shadows of palaces and strips of sky;
I wait to see thee vanish like the fleets
Seen in mirage, or towers of cloud uplifting
In air their unsubstantial masonry.
The gondola is a traditional, flat-bottomed Venetian rowing boat, well suited to the conditions of the Venetian lagoon. The rowing oar, which is not fastened to the hull, is used in a sculling manner, also acting as the rudder. For centuries the gondola was the chief means of transportation and most common watercraft within Venice. It is propelled by a gondolier. In modern times the iconic boats still have a role in public transportation in the city, serving as traghetti (ferries) over the Grand Canal. There are just over four hundred gondolas in active service today, virtually all of them used for hire by tourists. In order to become a professional gondolier, you need to obtain a license from the guild. Two hundred years ago, there were 10,000 gondolas in Venice. Although the aristocracy preferred horses to boats through the early Middle-Ages, beginning in the 14th century when horses were outlawed from the streets of Venice, the noble class embraced gondolas as a respectable form of transportation.
- Dino Carbetta
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