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The Bucintoro of Turin - English Page

The Bucintoro
of Turin

foto bucintoro

"Peota of Carlo Emanuele III, 1731 . Model of Andreino Dainese - CSI Model, Alessandria"

From the point of view of a naval archaeologist the Peota – the Venetian vernacular has other terms: peata, piatta (flat) – is a flat-bottomed boat, which is therefore suitable for sailing on sea, river, and lagoon. The hull is strongly built, about sixteen metres by two metres sixty, and is suitable for the transport of bulky freights: timber, gravel and building materials. The shape of peota is the basis of the boats built in North Adriatic yards; it survived till 1940 when it was ousted by the generalized use of the combustion engine.
The hull of the "Peota di Torino" was manufactured in one of those Burano "squeri" (ship-building yards) which built boats to order for small shipping companies operating in the lagoon or along the coasts.
The caulking was done in the "Arsenale". Another "squero" was responsible for making it a pleasure boat: artists and craftsmen embellished it with carvings and gildings, with paintings and tapestry, following a fashion which was to be found fairly frequently in the boats used by high-reanking officers of the Venetian Government such as the "Savi delle Acque".

The bow is one and a half metres high; a Narcissus figure is reflected in the water below; two reclining figures, the rivers Po and Adige, are sculpted on either side, pouring on the contents of two amphoras. Friezes with tritons and sea-nymphs run along the sides and join where two puttoes ride two sea-horses in the stern. Gold is offset with the vermilion of the boot-topping and the black of the underbody.
A room, a "tiemo", rises centrally for use by the royal guests and the Ammiraglio del Po. It is decorated with scenes of history of the Savoys.
The rudder is the type which was usual in Venetian boats and the boats used on the Po, close to the stern post; the helm stock was sculpted. There are eight Venetian tholepins. The mast is over ten metres high with a boom to which a lateen sail or a reef could be fastened.
The towing ring by which the Peota was towed for 540 kilometers inland is still there.
Research into the building of this "peota" began in 1995 and is still underway. The hull was designed and built in Burano, Venice. Caulking and decorating was also done in Venice, in the Arsenale.
The boat is the most imposing of those that have been preserved. It was built in the 18 th  century and towed from Venice to Torino on the Po over 32 days.
The Sicilian architect Filippo Juvarra, then active in Piedmont, was commissioned by the Corte dei Conti (Court of Auditors) to assess the vessel against its price.
By a happy combination of events the history of the boat can be traced all the way back to its inception in Venice and its progress along the Po to the capital of Piedmont.

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