This 39-foot Violin-shaped Boat Floated Down Venice's Grand Canal With a String Quartet on Board

·2 min read

As the sounds of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" came down the canals, Venetians turned and saw an unusual sight over the weekend: a gigantic 39-foot violin with a string quartet on board making its way down the Grand Canal.

Violin Shaped Boat in Venice
Violin Shaped Boat in Venice

MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

The boat, named "Noah's Violin" in reference to Noah's Ark, was created by a Venetian artist named Livio de Marchi to bring a message of hope as the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the course of its hour-long journey, the floating concert attracted a battalion of other small ships that accompanied the violin through Venice. The journey ended at the church of La Salute, which was built as an offering to the Virgin Mary for delivering the city from a plague that swept through in 1630.

Tiziana Gasparoni, the cellist onboard, said that "as a Venetian and a musician, it was the most moving experience of my life," told The New York Times.

De Marchi — who has created several other floating works of art, including a giant shoe and origami hat — came up with the idea during a lockdown period sparked by the pandemic, intending to bring back hope through music.

Violin Shaped Boat in Venice
Violin Shaped Boat in Venice

Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Getty Images

The extremely realistic-looking violin is made from about a dozen different kinds of wood, with a motor inside its body to keep it moving.

It was built at a shipyard on a nearby island and almost immediately began to draw attention. Companies and people who weren't linked to the project wanted to get involved and began to volunteer their time to build the floating violin.

Violin Shaped Boat in Venice
Violin Shaped Boat in Venice

MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

The project also comes at a time when Venice is trying to draw attention to local artisans.

"Supporting and giving visibility to artisans is the only way to keep Venice a living city," Roberto Paladini, director of the Venice branch of the National Confederation of Artisans (CNA), told The New York Times.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.

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