A recent ANSA article is reporting that a Brindisi shipbuilder's offer to start construction of fiberglass gondolas has been rejected by the City of Venice.
ANSA reports that Giuseppe Gioia's Cantieri Navali Brindisi shipyards claimed to be putting the final touches on a fiberglass prototype that perfectly replicates original wood gondolas while offering weather-resistant properties. But, Venice Ente Gondola says the traditional boats can only be made of wood and built by Venetian artisans using traditional techniques. Aldo Reato, head of a Venetian gondoliers association, is quoted as saying, "The idea of a 'plastic' gondola is unthinkable and I'm sure the whole world would agree."
A traditional gondola costs as much as 25,000 euros to make, while fiberglass models would cost significantly less.
According to the article, a typical gondola is made from pine, oak, cherry, walnut, elm, mahogany, larch and lime wood, while its oar is made from beech wood. The left side of the gondola is longer than the right side so the boat will not go leftwards at the forward stroke and thus keep on a straight course.
Would riding in a fiberglass gondola diminish the Venetian experience for you?