Squero di San Trovaso
Venice has about 400 gondole in active service, and all are made by hand. A typical gondola is built from nine different types of wood and several hundred parts, including a carved oarlock called a forcola and a weighted bow ornament known as a ferro that helps to counterbalance the weight of the gondolier who rows while standing on the boat's stern.
A gondola can cost upwards of €20,000, depending on its amenities, and it needs regular maintenance to ensure a working life of several decades. Gondola construction and repairs are supplied by a handful of squeri, or boatyards, in Venice and the Venetian Lagoon.
Most of these boatyards are in locations that tourists seldom see, but the oldest and most famous yard--the --is in the heart of the city. You can enjoy a free view of the gondola craftsmen at work from the opposite bank of the San Trovaso Canal.
Here's a collection of photos that Cheryl took during a recent summer visit, when the squero's artisans were busy varnishing a gondola:
A freshly-painted gondola sits on the paved apron in front of the Squero di San Trovaso, facing the San Trovaso Canal.
Inside the Alpine-style boathouse, craftsmen apply a layer of varnish to a gondola. (This photo was taken through the squero's back door, which had been left open for ventilation on a hot summer day.)
The telephoto lens on Cheryl's point-and-shoot camera let her get up close and personal with the artisans.
If you're lucky, the squero's back door will be open when you walk through the Campo San Trovaso. (If it's closed, please don't knock--the squero is a working boatyard, not a tourist attraction.)
Where to find the Squero di San Trovaso:
The squero is next to the Campo San Trovaso and the San Trovaso Church in Dorsoduro, just inland from the Zattere waterfront promenade.
The Squero di San Trovaso is a working boatyard, not a tourist attraction, but it does offer 30-minute guided tours to organizations and individuals by special arrangement.
To inquire about bookings and fees, visit the Squero's multilingual Web site.
Gondolas and Gondola Rides
Gondola Serenade Tour
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