Gondola Author:Donna Leon First used in medieval Venice as a deftly maneuverable getaway boat, the gondola evolved over the centuries into a floating pleasure palace, bedecked in silk, that facilitated the romantic escapades of the Venetian elite. Today, the gondola wears black?a gleaming, elegant hue, and is manned by robust gondolieri in black-and-white-striped shirts ... more »and straw hats.A tourist favorite, the gondola has never ceased to be a part of authentic Venice. Each boat' s 280 pieces are carefully fashioned in a maestro' s workshop?though Leon also recounts a tale of an American friend who attempted to make a gondola all on his own. The feat took five years and countless do-overs. But the gondola is a work of art well worth the labor.« less
Best known for her novels about Venetian detective Guido Brunetti, Donna Leon shows that she also has talents in the non-fiction genre. "Gondola", as one might expect from the brief title, describes the history, design, and lore of the famed aquatic symbols of Venice. The book is quite brief, but it covers the topic sufficiently and holds the readers' attention from beginning to end.