What the Fero da Prova at the gondola’s bow means is beautiful. Truly.

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    There are a few symbols that “define’ Venice all around the world: San Marco’s square, the Rialto Bridge and the Gondolas.
    While it is possible to find books and guides speaking in detail about the architecture in Venice, the descriptions about design and characteristics of a Gondola often fall short.

    One of our favorites, and often not known, symbols of Venice is the “ferò da próva“, the Front Ornament of the Gondola

    The beautiful shape and decorations of the front ornament are full of meaning:

    – The shape of the top of the “Fero” refers to the shape of the hat of the doge. (Yes, according to our current fashion the shape of the hat is weird indeed)
    – The six rectangles on the front, represent the six districts of Venice: San Marco, San Polo, Santa Croce, Cannaregio, Dorsoduro and Castello
    – The rectangle on the back represents the island of the Giudecca
    – The shape enclosed by the top “hat” and the first rectangle, represents the Basin of San Marco. The arched line represents the Rialto bridge
    – The sinuous line running from the top of the “Fero” until the bottom of the gondola, represents the Canal Grande
    – The three decorations on the front, represent the three most important island for the Serenissima: Murano, Burano and Torcello

    Would you have ever imagined that the front of the Gondola symbolized so many characteristics of Venice?

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