Voyage of the violin

People in the Italian city of Venice were treated to a free concert on Saturday when a giant violin floated down the Grand Canal, ferrying a string quartet from the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory, who performed Vivaldi's Four Seasons for their audience.

The hand-carved violin-shaped boat, named "Violin of Noah" and measuring 12m long, was built during the pandemic by Venetian artist Livio De Marchi in collaboration with the Venice Development Consortium.

De Marchi, informally known as the Carpenter of Venice, has produced many other floating sculptures, including a wooden Ferrari.

The project is dedicated to those who have died from Covid-19, as well as Venice's emergence from the pandemic and the city's connection to art, culture and music.

Over the course of its hour-long voyage, the concert attracted other small vessels 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 it in 1630.

The violin is made from about a dozen different kinds of wood and is powered by an internal motor.

"As Noah put the animals on board the ark to save them, we will spread art through music on this violin," De Marchi told Venezia Today last month.

Travel restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 halted tourism to one of the world's most visited cities.

Although travel operators, hotels and restaurants in Venice suffered as a result, the city thrived in other ways.

Dolphins were spotted in the city's waterways, swimming close to St Mark's Square. Water in the city's famous canals also became clearer, thanks to a drop in boat traffic during lockdowns.

Large cruise ships have since been banned from Venice and a €10 (S$16) tourism tax has been introduced as the authorities work to curb over-tourism in the city.


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