December 6 is the Festa of San Nicolas. I walked to the Chiesa San Nicolo dei Mendicoli, in Dorsoduro, to determine whether there would be any special recognition of the occasion, and found there would be a special mass that evening.
I kept walking in the warm sunshine, and stopped on a bridge to take photos of this special place.
It is one of the few remaining squeri (boat building/repairing yards) in Venice, the Squero Tramontin. It has been a family enterprise for more than 125 years.
Then, an unexpected thing happened. A gentleman came out of the door of the workshop. I smiled and waved, and he called out to ask if I wanted to come and see what they were doing. Would I? Is water wet? What a privilege was being offered.
Here is the beginning of what will be an elegant gondola.
This shows how they create the shape of the bow of the gondola.
The timber is shaped into curves by the application of heat from a blow torch. How do they do that without creating a bonfire?
On the other side of the workshop, they are building a sandola.
The bow of a sandolo has quite a different shape, compared to a gondola.
There were not many high-tech tools in use here.
Under the plastic is a felze, a cabin that used in the past on gondole, to protect the passengers from the elements, and from prying eyes! They are no longer in use, this one is for sale, for several thousand euro.
Here is my host, at work on the gondola.
Their little mascots?
The very nondescript street door that leads to this home of such wonderful craftsmen. May the craft live many more years.
If you want to read more about this squero, please follow this link, it makes interesting reading: