DID YOU KNOW?
Il ferro (iron), the distinctive ornamentation at the prow of a Venetian gondola, the most forward part of the boat, serves as its front bumper protecting it from everyday nicks and scratches and the occasional collision with other craft occupying the cramped, shared space.
More than just a bumper, il ferro, next to the winged lion of St. Mark, is the most recognized symbol of the Most Serene Republic of Venice and describes in its design the City of Canals.
The group of six prongs, or teeth, jutting out of the prow, represent the six sestiere (districts) of La Serenissima: Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Marco, San Polo and Santa Croce.
The lone prong, pointing in the opposite direction of the other six, represents the island of Giudecca.
And, the semicircle, between the curve at the top and the prongs below it, represents Ponte Rialto (Rialto Bridge), the oldest bridge across the Grand Canal.
The gondola. It’s the PROW and JOY of Venice.
©The Palladian Traveler