March 25, 2019 / Other Gondola Ride Italy Bridge of Sighs Northern Italy Rialto Bridge Grand Canal Venice Riva degli Schiavoni Rialto San Marco Venezia
A romantic gondola ride with your Venice photographer? Absolutely Yes!
A romantic gondola ride with your Venice photographer? Absolutely Yes!
Venezia is a living souvenir. You already hired your Venice photographer for your honeymoon, engagement, pre or post wedding photo session. But this is not enough because you want to make your Venetian photo experience even more unforgettable. Let me, as your Venice photographer, guide you through the most beautiful spots in Venice. What could be more romantic than enjoying a gondola ride during your photo shoot?
In other words, your wedding, honeymoon or engagement won’t be complete without a gondola ride and your Venice photographer. Always ready to capture such romantic experience. Symbol of history, tradition and romance. A gondola ride in Venice ranks among the most dreamed – about experiences for couples in love.
According to Wikipedia, the gondola is a traditional, flat – bottomed Venetian rowing boat. It is well suited to the specific conditions of the Venetian lagoon. For centuries, the gondola was a major means of transportation and the most common watercraft within Venice.
Nowadays, they still have a role in public transport in the city, serving as small ferries over the Grand Canal, operated by two oarsmen. Have you seen the Luxury Elopement at Scuola Grande dei Carmini blog story? That elopement in Venice starts with a nice set of photos taken from the Gondola Station at Santa Maria del Giglio. Venetians regularly board the gondola ferry. Me and my partner boarded it to quickly cross the Grand Canal and save time. Such crossings are a shared ride and last 30 to 40 seconds!
For some years there were seven traghetti (ferries), but by 2017 the number had unfortunately been reduced to three. There are approximately 400 gondoliers with license in Venice. However, a similar number of boats, down from the thousands traveled the canals centuries ago. Just imagine, there were eight to ten thousand gondolas during the 17th and 18th century! In the 1500’s an estimated 10.000 gondolas of all types were in Venice. In 1878 an estimated 4000 and now, as mentioned before, 400. So crazy! ?
DID YOU KNOW THAT?
The word “gondola” was first used by the Doge Vitale Falier back in 1093 C.E. Gondolas were a symbol of power for Venetian families. In addition, they started decorating their gondolas in magnificent ways. They spent so much money and energy to have the most luxurious gondolas that the Serenissima government had to intervene. In other words, the Venice Senate decided to halt this obsession passing a law. From then on, all gondolas had to be painted in black.
Today’s gondolas, however are different from those of the past. The reason is the lack of the “felze” – a removable shell made of wood and metal. Its function was to cover the passengers and was appreciated for different reasons. For instance, it shielded passengers from the cold winter wind and the hot sun in summer. Above all, it protected them from prying eyes. Venice was the city of parties, luxury, masks and sex. The felze was an essential part of the gondola for hundred of years!
From January to December I meet so many beautiful couples in love. Every couple is different and special. Therefore, every gondola ride is. Even though the ride tour is always the same, passing under the same bridges and canals, as Venice photographer I always get a different and new perception of this floating city. During a romantic gondola ride, what doesn’t change are the questions ?
The peculiarity of this romantic transportation always causes a big interest and curiosity among my lovely couples. In addition, here are some curiosities and questions I often tend to answer during a gondola ride:
- A gondola is 35.5 feet long and 4.5 feet wide with a weight of 1.500 lbs
- Gondolas are made of 280 hand – made pieces using 8 types of wood (lime, oak, mahogany, walnut, cherry, fir, larch, elm)
- It takes 6 months to make it one
- The cost of a gondola is about 38.000 euros
- In 2010 Giorgia Boscolo became Venice’s first fully licensed female gondolier
- A gondola can carry up to 6 passengers. Often, the gondolier ask people to switch seats to best balance the gondola
- The gondolier occasionally yells out “OY” in a peculiar fashion to caution his fellow peers around the corner
- In Venice there are exactly 391 bridges, 403 including the Giudecca, crossing 150 canals
Every detail of the gondola has its own symbolism. The iron prow – head of the gondola is needed to balance the weight of the gondolier at the stern. It has an ‘’S’’ shape symbolic of the twists in the Canal Grande. Under the main blade there is a kind of comb with six teeth standing for the six districts of Venezia.
A kind of tooth just out backwards towards the centre of the gondola symbolises the island of Giudecca. The curved top signifies the Doge’s cap. The semi – circular break between the curved top and the six teeth represents the Rialto Bridge. In conclusion, three friezes in – between the six prongs, indicate the three main Venetian islands: Murano, Burano and Torcello.
VOGA E VA GONDOLIER
A guild controls the profession of gondolier. In other words, it issues a limited number of licenses, granted after periods of training and apprenticeship. A major comprehensive exam tests knowledge of Venetian history, foreign language skills and practical skills in handling the gondola.
As you might have already seen (or you will see in the future), such skills are necessary in the tight spaces of Venetian canals. They own and maintain their own gondolas. In conclusion, father passes down the crafts and careers to son for generations. In the last preliminary examination to become a gondolier in May 2018, only 5 people out of 60 who passed the test did not have a gondolier as a relative.
Mark Twain visited Venice in 1867. Have you read The Innocents Abroad? He dedicated much of it to describe the curiosity of urban life with gondolas and gondoliers.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE VENICE FROM THE WATER?
If you think about Venice, probably the first image that comes up in your mind is a gondola cutting through a quiet canal. A gondola is like a luxury car. First, the gondolier helps you boarding his gondola. After that, he invites you to sit down on a comfortable double – armchair.
The tour with your Venice photographer then starts. What could be more romantic than your treasured Venice wedding photos being taken also enjoying a gondola ride? Venice is such an incredible and perfect scenery for couple photos, especially when it comes to wear a wedding gown.
With his gentle movements, the gondolier will guide you along the never changing canals. He will uncover the hidden beauties of Venice.
The image of a singing gondolier is more a product of Hollywood movies than reality. Singing is not a requirement for a gondolier even though some may sing. However, it’s best not to expect it. Most of them may offer some sightseeing narration during the ride but again, don’t take it for granted.
Venice is so beautiful and gondola rides are worth trying in every part of the city. Most people recommend taking a gondola ride on the quiet back canals rather than on the crowded Grand Canal. I also agree with this. My favourite route is the one which includes the passage under the Bridge of Sighs.
BRIDGE OF SIGHS: LEGEND AND FACTS
Ponte dei Sospiri is the second most famous bridge of Venezia, next to Rialto Bridge. This beautiful bridge was built in 1600 and it took about two years to complete. It is one of the finest examples of baroque bridge architecture in the world. Made of gleaming white Istrian stone it spans around 36 feet. Ponte dei Sospiri is the only covered limestone bridge in Venice and a tourist favorite. It was intended to connect the Old Prison and interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace to the new Prison. Situated directly across the river. There are a few theories about how the bridge got its name.
The first one is related to the prisoners that walked across it on their way to the executioner. They would “sigh” as they crossed the bridge, catching their last glimpse of the outside world. Bes sure to notice the 20 sculptures (or mascarons) depicting sad or angry faces as you cross under it on a gondola. The word mascaron comes from the Arabic word mascara meaning buffoonery.
This term came into use in 17th century when many fixed these ornamental carvings to the front of their houses. Similarly, also to bridges and other architecture to scare away evil spirits stopping them from gaining entry to the building. Another story says that if a couple kisses under the bridge while drifting below on a gondola, they will enjoy eternal love.
In addition, there is another version of this legend. If lovers kiss on a gondola at sunset under the bridge as the bells of St Mark’s Campanile toll, the lovers will be given eternal love. In this case, the “sighs” come from lovers who are overwhelmed by the romance of the whole scene. This romantic view was created by the poet Lord Byron. He wrote “I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs, a palace and prison on each hand”. Passing under the Bridge of Sighs is essential.