Part of the occasional series showcasing gondola-related stuff I have collected over the years. You’ve seen my forcola (a real one!), and last time I posted in this series, it was the Ven-Ice tray.
Here’s a letter opener I picked up at an antique store at the edge of Campo Sant’Angelo some years ago. Shaped like the ferro that graces the front of a gondola, this one ends in a graceful, sharp-edged sweep, embossed with the word “Venezia.”
The upper end has most of the traditional elements of the ferro: the upper curve that mimics the Doge’s hat; the six prongs representing the six sestieri; and the backwards facing prong to stand for Giudecca. Just above the six prongs is the arch to represent the Rialto Bridge, though this one is not as large or pronounced as a real ferro would be. Also, the backwards “S”shape is supposed to match the shape of the Grand Canal, but doesn’t quite do that here. This top portion is also embossed, showing the winged lion:
In her book No Vulgar Hotel, Judith Martin commiserates with all the Venetophiles who fill their houses with Venice stuff. “It is frighteningly easy for a Venetophile to slide into this without realizing until too late where it is going,” she writes. “Some of these things are beautiful, some are amusing, and all are keepsakes of the beloved. The further you get away from Venice, the less you can resist acquiring Venetobilia. Before you know it, you have turned yourself into a Venetian theme park” (305).
Yeah, welcome to my house.