Tag Archives: Grand Canal

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gathering

Venice Gondoler depot

“The Venetian gondola is as free and graceful, in its gliding movement, as a serpent. It is twenty or thirty feet long and is narrow and deep like a canoe; its sharp bow and stern sweep upward from the water like the horns of a crescent…. The bow is ornamented with a battle axe attachment that threatens to cut passing boats in two.”  –  Mark Twain – ‘The Innocents Abroad’

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

Grand Canal Venice Rialto Bridge

Grand Canal, Venice

“The Venetian gondola is as free and graceful, in its gliding movement, as a serpent. It is twenty or thirty feet long and is narrow and deep like a canoe; its sharp bow and stern sweep upward from the water like the horns of a crescent…. The bow is ornamented with a battle axe attachment that threatens to cut passing boats in two.”                                                                                                 Mark Twain – ‘The Innocents Abroad’

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

Being a Tourist…

The profession of gondolier is controlled by a guild, which issues a limited number of licenses granted after periods of training and apprenticeship, and a major comprehensive exam which tests knowledge of Venetian history and landmarks, foreign language skills, and practical skills in handling the gondola typically necessary in the tight spaces of Venetian canals.

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Venice, An Expensive Gondola Ride

Venice Gondola

“The Venetian gondola is as free and graceful, in its gliding movement, as a serpent. It is twenty or thirty feet long and is narrow and deep like a canoe; its sharp bow and stern sweep upward from the water like the horns of a crescent…. The bow is ornamented with a battle axe attachment that threatens to cut passing boats in two.”                                                                                                 Mark Twain – ‘The Innocents Abroad’

In 2003 I visited Venice for the second time and  took a ride through the canals in a gondola.  At €80 for fifty minutes it was horrifically expensive of course but it was something that had to be done.  To be fair to the gondoliers, they invest a great deal in their boats, about €20,000 for a traditional hand-built wooden gondola with a life expectancy of about twenty years. They need to earn the bulk of their annual income in a few short tourist months and the cost of living is high in Venice because it is an expensive city in one of Italy’s wealthiest provinces.

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Venice, Three Visits, Three Hotels

Albergo San Marco 1

“To build a city where it is impossible to build a city is madness in itself, but to build there one of the most elegant and grandest of cities is the madness of genius.”                                                                                                                                 Alexander Herzen

I first visited Venice in April 2002 and stayed at the Albergo San Marco near Saint Marks Square. There was perfect spring weather and I was captivated by the sights and sounds of the city which seemed to belong more correctly to a theme park than a thriving industrial sea port city. We did the sights of course, the Cathedral, Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge and the labyrinth of canals lined with palaces and museums. Wrapped up in the atmosphere of the place we paid £30 for a drink and a sandwich in St Mark’s Square and £80 for a ride in a gondola.  

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