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Photographer's Note

One in a series of photographs taken in Venice on a foggy weekend in February 1989. All were taken on slide film and have recently been digitised and then cleaned up using Photoshop CS2 and Neat Image.

What tourist dreaming of visiting Venice has not also dreamed of taking a ride on a Gondola?

One of the most romantic and fascinating ways to travel around Venice, gently gliding along the water with no sound from an engine. A true way to discover the real Venice. It is hard to pin-point when the Gondola started to appear but it is believed to be around the 11th century. It wasn't until the 15th century that it started appearing in pictures. It is also difficult to identify the origin of the Gondola's name. Some people say that the word Gondola derived from the Latin word cymbula, meaning small boat, or maybe it is from the word conchula, a diminutive of concha which means shell.

During the 16th century Venice saw 10 thousand Gondolas operating the canals. It was originally a means for the rich to be transported around the canals due to it's great manoeuvrability. Today the Gondola is mainly only used as a form of transport by the tourists.

The boats are strictly regulated with size, colour and the overall appearance being taken into account. Building a Gondola is not as straightforward as you may think. For example, 8 different kinds of wood are used. The curved shape is achieved by wetting the timber and then heating it. This process is continued over and over whilst taking care not to damage the fibres.

The Gondola only uses one oar; even stranger is that this oar is fixed to the right of the boat, yet it travels in a straight line. This is because the boat is not wholly symmetrical. In fact, the right side is narrower compared to the left by 24 cm. This design feature helps keep the boat on a straight course without constantly making adjustments.

The above is courtesy of http://www.b-visible.co.uk/article/venice.html

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Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10627 W: 63 N: 29872] (130967)
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