In a city renowned for its narrow oar-driven vessels, there’s an apparent alien. It hides in plain sight behind the loggia colonnade of the Museo di Storia Naturale (Natural History Museum) where it is passed daily by thousands making their way up and down the Grand Canal.
The palazzo that houses the museum was for centuries the centre of Turkish trade for the city, but this boat comes from further afield than that. It’s a dugout canoe that features carved figures and looks as if it should originate from the South Pacific. Surely it’s more of an anthropological exhibit that’s out of place here?
Monoxylous (cut from a single tree) boats were in use on the lagoon and in other parts of Northern Italy in the early medieval period, so this canoe may have at least have local relatives. Best visit the museum to find out.