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The Universal Symbol of Venice

The ubiquitous black gondola (shown here with the also common blue cover) is a favorite subject of photographers Copyright 2013  Andy Richards

The ubiquitous black gondola (shown here with the also common blue cover) is a favorite subject of photographers
Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

When you see the long, sleek, black gondola, with the red or black and white striped, shirted gondolier, is there anyone who doesn’t immediately think of Venice? During our time in Venice, it was difficult to go anywhere without seeing these ubiquitous, canoe – like craft.

The gondola is the universal symbol of “Venice”

Our only experience riding in one was a single trip across the Grand Canal on one of the traghettos that ferry passengers across the canal at various points for about 1.5 euro. Because there are only 4 bridges that cross the Grand Canal, which weaves through the islands in a way the forces crossing to get to a particular destination, these traghetto are strategically placed in locations where—particularly local residents—want to cross to get to shopping or residential areas.

Light and color make this gondola image the quintessential rendering of "Venice" in my view Copyright 2013  Andy Richards

Light and color make this gondola image the quintessential rendering of “Venice” in my view
Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

A “romantic ride” in one of these gondolas around the quiet canals of Venice will cost about 100 euro. If you want music (a live musician with a guitar or similar instrument), it is more. But it looked like a nice way to spend a sunny afternoon in Venice. We had already paid 100 euro for a “taxi” ride on our first day and had been on most of the main, navigable canals already, or we might have succumbed to the temptation. During that ride, we passed the main manufacturing and repair shop on one of the back canals.

Gondolier on his way to "The Office" Copyright  2013  Andy Richards

Gondolier on his way to “The Office”
Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

The ubiquitous Venetian Gondola makes a great subject or complement to photograph

It took no additional motivation, whatsoever, though for me to point my lens at them—often. They make a really wonderful subject or complement to the surroundings of Venice, particularly when there is some nice light. I was able to capture several different “moods” including them.

This was one of my only "planned" shots while in Venice Copyright 2013  Andy Richards

This was one of my only “planned” shots while in Venice
Copyright 2013 Andy Richards

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9 Responses

  1. When I see those gondolas, I think… Las Vegas. HA!

  2. Probably the most beautiful (man-made) place I have ever seen.. a true living museum. Don’t know if I will ever get back there, but I sure hope so. Really would like to be there for Carnival..the costumes and masks are mind-blowing in their intricacy (saw a show about it on Japanese TV recently). What a subject that would be as opposed to just the usual scenery. We didn’t actually ride on a gondola, but sure took lots of pics of ‘em, as does everyone!

  3. Andy, what do they use for emergency vehicles — ambulances, fire engines, etc. — on those waterways? Gondolas would seem a little slow.

    • Good question, Stewart. I saw Police boats and Ambulance boats. Not sure how fire suppression works. Didn’t see any fires :-). I suspect they have boats, but how they get to and put out fires on land, I don’t know

  4. I like both pictures very much. We were in the U.P. this weekend. We had an awesome time. Where or what town is Jack Lake near?

    • Hi, Lisa: Red Jack Lake is from my “other” blog which is a photo a week only :-). Red Jack Lake is in the Hiawatha National Forest South of Munising. You have to “two-track” to get back there.

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