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The Universal symbol of the city of Venice… what are we talking about?
The Venetian gondola!
The black, shiny boat carries on still today a particular charm, due to its elegant sinuous line and the wonderful environment in which it moves, plus its unique construction and the symbolism that it stands for. Are you now inquiring?
Every detail of the gondola has its own symbolism, especially the metal parts, whose formal elegance is combined with practicality and usefulness.
The iron prow-head of the gondola, called “fero da prorà” or “dolphin”, is needed to balance the weight of the gondolier at the stern, actually it also represents a synthetic view of Venetian land and symbols.
As you can see in the picture, the iron prow-head has an “S” shape symbolic of the twists in the Canal Grande.
While, the top part represents the Doge’s hat, as a tribute to the most important and powerful figure of the Serenissima’s Republic. Under his control it’s displayed the Rialto Bridge and the Saint Mark’s basin, city’s heart for trades and relationships.
The history of the gondola and the history of Venice are thus intertwined.
Under the main blade there is a kind of comb with six teeth or prongs (“rebbi”) standing for the six districts (“sestieri”) of Venice: San Marco, San Polo, Santa Croce, Castello, Dorsoduro and Cannareggio.
Sometimes three friezes can be seen in-between the six prongs, pairing the sestieri, indicating the three main islands of the city: Murano, Burano e Torcello. Whereas the tooth looking backwards symbolizes the island of Giudecca.
Do you know yet in which sestiere the Best Western Premier Hotel Sant’Elena is located? Sant’Elena’s area belongs to district of Castello.
The Castello’s district is the most eastern part of Venice, comparing Venice to a fish, it’s the tail. The name originates from a fortification built in Olivolo’s Island, nowadays San Pietro di Castello Island. There you can find the San Pietro di Castello’s Cathedral, episcopal church until 1807, year in which Napoleone moved the episcopal headquarter to Saint Mark’s Cathedral.
It borders on Saint Mark’s district, which is connected from Paglia’s Bridge, and the Cannareggio district to which is connected via San Giovanni and Paolo’s Bridge. In the side facing the south of the lagoon is found Riva degli Schiavoni, the name of the Dalmatians merchants that here moored their ships and traded their products.
The huge complex of the Arsenal occupies a significant portion of the district and about one-sixth of the entire surface area of the center island. The Arsenal was crucially important for the Serenissima’s Republic, as a matter of fact it was a strategic center of his power and important factory ships. Now is owned by the Navy and is the principal venue of the Biennale, along with the Public Gardens.
Present-day Castello is the second most populated district of Venice and is a zone very typical. You can find the real Venetian atmosphere. Popular buildings leaning to one, narrow streets, small artisan shops lend the air of a classic old fishing village.
Do not give up a stroll in this beautiful and traditional district … away from the crowds, there is a hidden Venice full of unforgettable places where you can breathe the Venice’s atmosphere.