Gondola Stuff: Letter opener

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As part of my occasional series of gondola-related tchotchkes, here’s another from my collection: the letter opener shaped like a gondola ferro. Doesn’t it have a lovely shape, just as the real thing does? I’m impressed that the craftsperson actually fit in all 6 prongs that represent Venice’s sestieri. Most ferro-shaped things fudge that part. You can sort of see that it has some embossing: “Venezia” in script on the blade, and on the opposite end, the winged lion of St. Mark holding his book. The piece is a bit rusty. I tried to shine it up once but was afraid I’d just scratch it. Anyone know what I should use to safely shine it?

I got this letter opener in Venice, but now I can’t remember which shop. For many years I’d go back to the tiny nook near the church of Santi Apostoli, with the tiny little man with Einstein hair who sat on a chair in the doorway. But alas, it is gone now. It was boarded up last time I was there (last year). It’s probably a mask shop or glass shop by now. Venice certainly needs a few more of those.

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About seductivevenice

Teacher, writer, traveler, dancer, reader, photographer, gardener.
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5 Responses to Gondola Stuff: Letter opener

  1. Nancy Schwalen says:

    It is a lovely piece but I have no idea how to safely polish it. A really soft cloth, such as an old t-shirt might help. Maybe a museum curator would know or a reputable jeweler

  2. Nice piece.
    Totally unconnected but have you read “A Venetian Affair” by Andrea Di Robilant? A true story based around around actual Eighteenth Century love letters. Needless to say Casanova played a pivotal role. As do ciphers, intrigues and quite a few gondolas.
    If you’ve not read it I suspect you’d like it.

    • Thanks for the tip! Yes, I’ve read it, some parts more than once. I did a chapter on Giustiniana Wynne in my book on Venetian women, so di Robilant’s book was a huge help. I got to meet up with him in Venice, too. He’s a really nice person! Did you hear that di Robilant has been doing a show that’s a combination of him reading the letters and a woman singing some parts, all set to music? I wish I could see it!

  3. Jane Fleming says:

    Maybe it needs gentle oiling. I’ve seen wooden versions of this but not metal.

    Re Casa Biondetti and Rosealba Carrieria. We have booked the apartment for the days around Regatta and Christmas. If you are around it would be wonderful to meet up!

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