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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Venetian Gondola’s Fun Fact 4

Venetian Gondola’s Fun Fact 4:
That decorative hood ornament at the prow is called the ferro, and it’s full of symbolism. 
I’s in an S shape which represents the curve of the Grand Canal as it bisects the island of Venice. 
The six prongs (pettini) represent the six districts of Venice, known as the sestieri: San Marco, San Polo, Santa Croce, Castello, Dorsoduro, Canareggio).
The one backwards facing prong symbolizes the island of Giudecca which is just south of the main island of Venice.
The embellishment at top of the ferro echoes the shape of a Doge’s hat (an elected magistrate of the republic)
The little arch between the flourish and the top prong represents the Rialto Bridge.
In more modern ferro’s you can see also three little embellishments that represents the three main island of Venice : Murano, Burano and Torcello.
Beyond its symbolic/ornamental touch, the ferro also serves as a kind of protective bumper in case the gondola collides with other boats or walls, plus it’s a bit of a counterweight for the gondolier standing at the back.
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