They can be found clustered in front of old palaces . . .
Gliding quietly down narrow canals . . .
Early in the morning . . .
When restaurants haven't even opened yet . . .
Out on the Canal Grande, competing for navigable space with water buses and power boats, while the winged lion, symbol of Venice, keeps watch over it all . . .
Trying to stay relevant in a city that today is largely a living museum . . .
You can spot them from the Bridge of Sighs - the bridge connecting the Ducal Palace to the Prisons. I can easily imagine a gondola being the last thing a condemned prisoner might see as he crossed the bridge towards his incarceration . . .
How brave these gondolieri are, fighting for survival, physical and metaphorical, in the 21st century!
Some long-ago doge (reigning duke) decreed that all gondole should be black to eliminate unseemly competition for the fanciest rig . . . (Notice the plural form of gondola is gondole, NOT gondolas, as it was emphatically, albeit politely, pointed out to me by a native) . . .
At one time, there were 10,000 gondole in the Venetian lagoon. Today, there are roughly 500 of them left, all catering to the tourist industry . . .
And, yes, it was expensive and a bit of a cliché, but how could we NOT indulge in a romantic ride? Our 4th generation gondoliere sang in a desultory fashion, more to himself than to us, while he steered us through quiet rii (small canals), and onto the Canal Grande . . .
Never ask a gondoliere to sing “O Sole Mio” - that's a Neapolitan song! That travesty occurs at The Venetian, in Las Vegas! But, to paraphrase the popular saying: What happens in Vegas, most definitely ought to stay in Vegas . . . Click here to hear a charming Venetian folk song . . .
I brought home this bit of lace - made in the island of Burano; and, just recently, had it mounted and framed . . .
The silk backing is Venetian Blue (I kid you NOT!). The gilded frame reminds me of the waves in the Venetian lagoon. Ah, the romance of Venice has come home with me . . .