If Venice has an icon it is perhaps the gondola. Glid- ing along the canals in a gondola is truly one of the quintessential Venetian experiences. In the 17th and 18th cen- turies, there were as many as 10,000 gondolas operating on the canals of Venice. Today, there are fewer than 500.
But even with fewer gondolas, the tradition of building these flat-bottom boats is alive and well in Venice. Visitors can witness these traditions at two locations, both within walking distance of one another.
At Squero San Trovaso, witness the few remain- ing master craftsmen building gondolas the way they have been built for more than a century. The process requires eight types of wood and months of hard work. Squero San Trovaso is situated at Dorsoduro 1097, near the Zattere vaporetto station. For more information:http://www.squerosantrovaso.com
Saverio Pastor is the artist and craftsman who builds oars and forcole, which is the rowlock or oarpost used in traditional Venetian boats such as the gondola.
To watch Saverio Pastor at work is mesmerizing, as he saws raw wood into the intricate designs that give gondolas not only beauty but also functionality. His shop, Le Forcole, is also situated on Dorsoduro, number 341 at Fondamenta Soranzo. In the shop, visitors will find a variety of oars and forcole, which can be pur- chased and shipped worldwide. For more information: http://www.forcole.com/ +39 041 522 5699