Location: Venice, Italy
Dimensions: 11 meters in length
Medium: eight different types of wood: fir, cherry, chestnut, elm, oak, linden tree, and walnut.
Venice is the city that lives on water; it is known all over the world for its beautiful gondolas and small canals. However, even with the unique and interesting foundation of water, there are a number of ways of getting around Venice. The first is by foot. Venice stretches across 117 small islands, has 150 channels, and holds around 400 bridges. Another way of getting around Venice is by boat. One of the first types of boats that were used for transportation was the gondola. The name “gondola” comes from the Latin “cymbula” (little boat) or “cuncula.” It made its first appearance in paintings in the late 15th and early 16th Centuries in works by Gentile Bellini, Vittore Carpaccio, and Giovanni Mansueti. According to documents of the Serenissima Republic (also known as the Ancient State of Venice,) the gondola was born in the early 1000s. The gondola was used for transportation for people of higher class, and even today it is not cheap for a gondola ride. Gondolas used to have a closed cabin placed in the center to shelter people from bad weather and to offer people privacy when they were reading, eating, drinking, having conversation, or romancing each other. They were also used to transport criminals and kidnappers. However, these coverings are no longer used. The gondola is eleven meters in length and 600 kilograms in weight. It is made out of eight different types of wood: fir, cherry, chestnut, elm, oak, linden tree, and walnut. Its takes a total of 280 pieces to put together a gondola. The gondola is asymmetric, with the left side larger than the right by 24 centimeters. In the front of every gondola is an iron prow that weighs about 10 kilograms. The ferro is the name for the distinctive metal design at the front of the gondola. The ferro has gone through many different designs over the past 1000 years. The modern ferro has six teeth that represents the six districts of Venice, and the elegant curve represents the Doge’s cap. The gap between the curve and the six teeth is said to represent the Rialto Bridge. This ferro is the symbol of the gondola and is therefore the symbol of Venice. The oar and the oarlock is one of the most important parts of the gondola. The oarlock is made out of a single piece of walnut wood and has a distinct bend in it for maximum strength. It is placed at the stern of the gondola, where it allows the boat to lean lower on the right hand side. The oar is made by an oar maker who carves it out of beech wood. The oar and the oarlock are made in a precise manner that helps the gondolier row the boat in the most effective way possible. The gondola is a distinctive boat, beautiful because of its unique design and extreme mathematical precision. The gondolier even has to row a certain way. Its unique design is unlike any other and has been helping Venicians get around the tight canals for over 1000 years.