Bring Gondolas Back to the Venice Canals

Re: “History in Their Hands: Venice gondola restoration is a journey into the living legacy of Arthur Reese,” Feature Story, July 18

What a pleasure to learn about the Arthur Reese’s legacy and the work to preserve it!  I remember seeing the gondola in front of the bank on Lincoln Boulevard when I was little, and thinking it must be magical — like Aladdin’s carpet.

Venetian gondolas are a marvel of practical engineering. Because they are rowed with a single oar, they are constructed to lean to the right, and the gondolier uses positions in the oarlock (forcola) to change speed and direction. The ferro (“iron”) on the prow balances the weight of the gondolier standing on the stern. Its design pays homage to the hat (corno) worn by the doge; six digits pointing forward represent the six districts of the city of Venice, and the seventh, pointing backwards, represents the Island of the Giudecca immediately to the south. By 1562 gondolas had become so prevalent and so ornate that the price of gold leaf and ornamentation was ruining Venetian families, so a law was passed mandating the simple silhouette and black color still seen today.

Do you suppose the magic of Reese’s restored gondola will summon others to appear and glide on canals in Venice, California, again?

Phyllis Elliott

Santa Monica


Re: “Venice Killing May Be Gang-Related,” July 22

Maria Boulin: Such a beautiful man who radiated goodness, I’m still in disbelief. Without hyperbole, Pedro Ruiz set an example of how to interact with and how to connect with others in joy. I already miss seeing his smile so much, and we hope to cover his family in love and prayer.

JW67: RIP Pedro. Your smile and generous spirit will be missed at Westminster Elementary.