The Gondola and Venice Canals
The gondola has always fascinated and inspired artists and writers from all over the world with its elegance and its aura of mystery. It has been compared to everything from a coffin to a shell, from a violin to a snake and even a floating slipper. What does it remind you of? The first gondolas date back to a thousand years ago, although initially they were shorter and wider; it was only in the early 1700s that the gondola acquired its present shape, ideal for floating easily within the network of canals that give shape to the city. If you notice well the gondola is asymmetrical, wider on the left to allow the gondolier to carry it with only one oar. A jewel of naval engineering, unique in giving you what the writer Mark Twain has defined “the sweetest and most pleasant locomotion” there is.
There are only 3 canals in Venice: the Grand Canal, the Giudecca Canal and the Cannaregio Canal. These narrower ones you are shooting in, in fact, in Venice they call them “rii”. There are more or less 170 rii that form the winding network of the city, through which only small boats can pass. Venice was and still is a collection of islets, connected only by the 340 bridges scattered around the city, without which it would not be possible to walk. The idea of building a city on the water, and moreover marshy water, might seem bizarre to many visitors, who often ask themselves: “what is under the buildings?” The answer is simple: stilts. In fact, Venice essentially rests on thousands of wooden stilts, embedded in the clayey sand below. And this was the technique initially adopted by the first inhabitants who arrived in this area, who were not discouraged by the inconvenience of the place. Although the water in the canals is not very clean, it is renewed every six hours thanks to the tide which ensures a daily ebb of water into the city.
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