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The curling iron comb of the gondola's stern is no longer practical for Venetians.

 

Venice's gondolas cut an iconic profile: slender hull, swooping shape, swan-like stern rising behind the crooning gondolier.

But according to the Guardian, the rising back of Venice's gondolas are about to be amputated. 

It seems that rising sea levels, already one of Venice's most lamentable and well-documented problems that swamps its main squares during the wet seasons, are about to claim the towering back of the gondola, too. 

The iron back end of the gondola, called a risso, or curl, is being removed by some gondoliers because they're beginning to smash into the city's footbridges as the boats pass underneath. More and more, as rissos are truncated for ease of passage, the Venetian gondola is looking something more like a canoe or a kayak.

The city decrees that rissos may be attached to a hinge in case of clearance troubles, but as the Guardian writes:

That... is clearly not being done by a large number of gondoliers. Saverio Pastor, from the El Felze association of gondola-making artisans, says that while 10 years ago some gondoliers used a hinge-operated risso, “almost all” now chosen [sic] the more drastic option of taking them off altogether.
 
Are gondolas as we envision them about to go extinct, just as the African elephant has been forewarned to be (read that story here)?
 
Just another reasons to get yourself to Venice before it becomes unrecognizable or, worse, permanently un-navigable.


Tags: venice, italy, gondola, landmarks, tourism

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