The "Cynthia Julia" is Providence’s first gondola and is believed to be the first truly authentic Venetian gondola ever built in the United States. It was commissioned to be built in Manchester, Massachusetts in May, 1996, and completed in October, 1996. The gondola’s design is from the 19th century and is adorned with hand-sculpted ornaments and more than 250 feet of solid brass trim.
The "Bella Donna", our second gondola, was built in Venice in 2001 by Dei Rossi. It was brought to New Orleans and was actually utilized during Hurricane Katrina to rescue stranded people during that storm. It was brought to Providence and restored in 2006, and has been part of our fleet ever since. It is also adorned with hand-sculpted ornaments and over 250 feet of solid brass trim.
Our newest (and oldest) gondola, has not even been re-christened yet! This magnificent gondola, which was extensively restored during the 2010-2011 off season, was constructed in Venice by Tramontin, the foremost gondola builder in the city, approximately 35 years ago. It was built as a wedding gondola, and brought to America over 30 years ago. It was previously used by an event coordinator for Italian-themed events, and as such was cut into three pieces to make it easier to get into and out of banquet facilities. It is adorned with hand-sculpted ornaments similar to our other gondolas, but its trim is steel, giving it silver accents. Additionally, its entire bow and stern were carved with mythological deities and sea creatures, and it also bears two plates with a Venetian expression: "Cocai in laguna, burasca in mar; dove no se crede, l'aqua rompe," (translation: safety in the lagoon, stormy in the sea; where one does not believe, the water breaks [him.]) Its first launch onto the water in over 30 years was in May, 2011, and its first trip was taking a group of Italian 4 students who were here for a field trip! We are very happy to have this beautiful gondola as part of our fleet.
The gondolas are 36 feet in length and about 5 feet across at their widest points. They weigh approximately 1,800 pounds and seat up to six passengers. Each is powered by one man, the gondolier, and a 14 foot oar.