V venezia magazine 6 (english version)

Page 25

Not only gondola

The sandolo

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ach copy of the large fleet of small boats that pass through the canals of Venice every day has a particular history: the sandolo is no exception. It is one of the most wide­ spread types in the lagoon and over the years it has evolved in very different ways continuously from one island to the other, depending on use and the environment. The lightness and agility of the sandalo, both with Ve­ netian rowing with two cross oars (alla vallesana technique), have made it equivalent to a

cart or bicycle for the Vene­ tian population, becoming the most suitable way to row along stretches of lagoon a few centimetres deep: a tool for uniting people walking on the water ­ sandalo is also the name of known type of flat shoe, the sandal ­ in an environment that is often difficult and hostile but that despite this has allowed for a civilization to develop and remained for centuries in symbiosis with the ecosy­ stem, respecting its natural resources and reaping the greatest fruit possible.

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There are large ones, around nine meters, such as the sandolo buranello ­ that was used mostly for different types of fishing, so large and elegant as to still be in use along with the gondolas for the transport of pas­ sengers in the city ­ or small ones (5­6 me­ ters) such as the so­called s'ciopon ­ the dialectal name of the high caliber rifle that was installed on board until the sixties, and which was used for hunting birds in the la­ goon during the periods of migration. Other strange names linked to the ancient crafts are for example the sandolo da fos­ sina or da fagiaroto (for fishing with the harpoon), different from the s'ciopon by a more marked elevation of the extremities (bow and stern) the saltafossi of simple, lightweight and inexpensive construction was used in fishing valleys dragged by a single man to overcome an embankment or circumvent other obstacles, the cofano or sandolo with coverta: a sandolo born of the experience of the hunters of the north la­ goon who extended the cover to half boat to cover the hunter during the hunt and to keep the load dry even on rainy days: it is practi­ cally the archetype of fiberglass motorboats that young venetians who often irresponsibly dash along the canals in the city or the sandolo of San Piero or sampierotta, from the name of the village of San Pietro in Volta, a very comfortable and capacious fi­ shing boat which is suitable for the sea as well, born for rowing and currently having a new lease of life among lugsail experts thanks to its good sailing characteristics, the puppa­ rin, the only asymmetric sandolo similar to the gondola with a stern developed to increa­ se rowing yield, used when there were still no engines in the lagoon especially by customs officers and smugglers, who for obvious rea­ sons needed speed and maneuverability or the mascareta, a very elegant sandolo of which there remains only the sport version, which is very widespread among rowing club associations.

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