Today was a very special milestone in the career of my paddling husband, it was the day of the launching of his brand new gondola. Tradition dictates, that a new boat takes on a female name, and with no pressure at all from me, he's called her the "ANGELINA".
Usually the name is engraved on stainless steel bands at the front of the Gondola, which are screwed in, and therefore can be just as easily unscrewed, if a name change is required. Not my Dino! He's had my name brazenly carved into a wooden section at the stern, like a sailors tattoo, never to be removed, now my friends... THAT'S AMORE.
|never to be removed|
It took place at the squero (boatyard) of Roberto Dei Rossi, one of only 4 remaining master boat builders left in Venice. He has been building these flat bottomed time machines for over 40 years. Roberto needed roughly 500 hours to cut, fit and assemble all the 280 pieces it takes to construct this wooden venetian jigsaw puzzle, making what is, one of the oldest surviving forms of transport in the world.
|Dino christens the "Angelina"|
As I tried to keep everybody's glass full, people would congratulate me (for what? I didn't do anything) I received kisses on both cheeks from relatives and friends. A group of salty old gondoliers said the "Angelina" was a real beauty. "You talking about the boat, or the lady?" I responded, like some sort of Venetian Mae West.
|Paolo test drives the "Angelina"|
The priest anointed her with holy water, then Dino christened the new-born boat with a foamy whack of a Prosecco bottle especially made by a friend, for the occasion. The "Angelina" was lowered into the sea for the first time, and glasses were raised to her health. Every social gathering in Italy is always accompanied by food and drink, and today's celebration was no different.
All the usual suspects were on offer, various panini, pizzette, pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans), hot musetto (sausage) with mustard, home-made cakes and venetian biscuits served with plenty of wine for the grown-ups (there's no driving in Venice) and water for the kids.
Go to the Bean and Pasta Soup Recipe