The Gondola Maker

This is not about a modern-day craftsman you would meet in Venice at the Squero San Trovaso, nor the Squero Tramontin, but rather one you will meet in the pages of the historical novel written by Laura Morelli When I was invited by Laura Fabiani to review this book for italybooktours, I was happy to oblige, since I had recently read the book and had enjoyed it.

Squero San Trovaso

Squero San Trovaso


Squero Tramontin

Squero Tramontin



Set in 16th century Venice, we follow the travails of Luca Vianello, whose destiny had been to become the owner of the family squero in Cannaregio, where gondolas were made and repaired.

But, the death of his beloved mother, a bitter fight with his father and a tragic accident at the squero  leads to  Luca  fleeing from home, and puts him on the path to an entirely different life.

After a period of what we today might call rough living,  he lands a job as boatman to the painter/ artist Trevisan.  (The descriptions of the conditions under which many people would have living in this period of history had me squirming!)

During this time, two significant things happen which will determine  his future.  In the boat house of his employer, he discovers the wreck of a gondola that had been made by his grandfather, and he is smitten by  the lovely Giuliana Zanchi, who is posing for a portrait. His infatuation and developing friendship with Giuliana causes him to take some rather foolhardy risks. I guess this is what being a hero requires!

The descriptions of life in Venice at this time in history, and the insights into the skills involved in the making of gondolas and their equipment, are a bonus for anyone interested in this era.

The story moves along at a good pace, the protagonist is a likeable person whom you would want to succeed. I was satisfied with the manner in which the story ended, and wouldn’t object to a sequel, if that’s on the cards. So, you may deduce that I have no hesitation in recommending this well researched novel.

 The author:

View More:

About the author:

Laura Morelli earned a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and an Andrew W. Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She has taught college art history in the U.S. and at Trinity College in Rome. She is the creator of the authentic guidebook series that includes Made in ItalyMade in France, and Made in the Southwest, published by Rizzoli. Laura is a frequent contributor to National Geographic Traveler and other national magazines and newspapers. A native of coastal Georgia, she is married and is busy raising four children. The Gondola Maker is her first work of fiction.
The book is available from these sources:


Filed under Venice

34 responses to “The Gondola Maker

  1. Pingback: wpc- achievement (race day shirt, Titian art) | priorhouse blog

  2. Thanks for the great review- I may just have to add this to my list – 🙂 Peace

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Laura Morelli and commented:
    Thanks to Hello World for this great assessment of THE GONDOLA MAKER!


  4. Thank you so much for this great review of THE GONDOLA MAKER! I’m glad you enjoyed the story. I have new guidebooks on the authentic arts of Venice coming out in early 2015. You can learn more about them here: Thanks again! –Laura Morelli

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m intrigued now. I should probably add it to my long list of books to be read. Thanks for the tip


  6. joanneh

    Thanks I will have to order that


  7. It’s been on my Nook wish list since Karen told me about it. Grazie for the review. Now if my sister would just send me another one of her e book coupons that she doesn’t use (the purist will only read a “real” book).


  8. We both loved that book. And the one I recommended to you, The Venice Contract by Mariana Fiorato.


  9. Thanks for the review – this is going on my “want to read” list. 🙂


  10. This is very much on our book list now. Can’t wait to read it!

    Oh, to be walking past San Trovaso on the way to dine at Locanda Montin…yeah, it’s what life should be about. 🙂

    (Well, my dad is running a tour there next week and he’ll be doing just that. Not a bad life he’s running. 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  11. One for me to add! Thanks


  12. Yes, it might have been rough in those days to be crafting gondolas, fortunately he got smitten and things must have cheered him up. I would not be surprised if at times some of the foolhardy things he did was downing tools in the shed and chiselling instead on his beloved Giuliana, perhaps even caught in una momenta flagrante deliciciaose.
    (Parden me Italiano)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A great review and I’m definitely adding this book to my Kindle.


Now let's hear it from you, folks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s