Review ~ The Gondola Maker by Laura Morelli

The Gondola MakerThe Gondola Maker by Laura Morelli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that I enjoyed but I’m not so sure why. A story about a boy born and raised as the heir to his father’s gondola business, although he wasn’t supposed to be the heir, was actually more interesting than I thought it would be.

Set in 1500s and told in first person, Luca tells his life story. And even though it’s not that interesting, what I did find interesting was all the information about making gondolas–the artistry of it all. The story was filled with people that were creative.

The life of the people in that period was clearly painted with the clothing, the atmosphere, the descriptions of how and what they ate, the government, and the arts.

I recommend this book for those interested in Italy in the 1500s, woodworking, gondola making, painting, and an educationally entertaining story.


In 16th-century Venice, the heir to a family boatyard rejects his destiny but is drawn to restore an old gondola with the dream of taking a girl for a ride.
Venice, 1581
Luca Vianello is the heir to the city’s most esteemed gondola-making family. But when an accidental tragedy strikes the boatyard, Luca believes his true calling lies elsewhere. Readers will appreciate the authentic details of gondola craftsmanship along with a captivating tale of artisanal tradition and family bonds set in one of the world’s most magnificent settings: Renaissance Venice.

Morelli creates poignantly convincing characters in this handsome coming-of-age novel about adoration, pain, and destiny.
–Publisher’s Weekly starred review

Historical fiction at its best.
–Midwest Book Review

Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University and is the author of Made in Italy.

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