Watch: a giant wooden violin ferries musicians down Venice’s Grand Canal

A barefoot string quartet performed Vivaldi while standing on the bizarre instrument

Tourists and residents in Venice experienced a musical treat on Sunday when a giant wooden violin floated down the city’s Grand Canal.

Musicians on the hand-carved instrument performed pieces by Vivaldi, Venice’s most famous musical son, as they floated along Il Canalazzo.

Performers from the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory stood barefoot on the 12-metre-long floating instrument, which was designed by Venetian sculptor Livio De Marchi.

Dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns, the musicians read from sheet music on stands placed on either side of the violin, which somehow managed to stay in place throughout the journey.

The long neck of the violin extended into the waterway, complete with pegs and a scroll.

Called the Violin of Noah, the vessel was designed to represent those affected by Covid-19, the city’s emergence from the pandemic and its intrinsic connection to art, culture and music.

“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 in August.

The wooden violin took De Marchi and his team more than a year to construct, but it was not the designer's first foray into water-based sculptures. Previous works include a floating high-heel shoe, an origami crane and a buoyant wooden Ferrari spotted cruising Venice's canals.

With more musical performances set for the coming days, Venetians and tourists can hope to catch a glimpse of a live classical concert with a difference.

The violin has also been designed in such a manner that it can be disassembled and easily rebuilt, meaning that after its launch in the Floating City, you might see it at a waterway near you in the future.

How the Covid-19 pandemic affected tourism in Venice

A screengrab taken from a video shows dolphins swimming in the Giudecca Canal, not far from St. Mark's Square, in Venice, Italy, March, 22, 2021. Manuel Silvestri/REUTERS TV via REUTERS

Travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 halted tourism to one of the world’s most-visited cities.

Although many 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. And water in the world-famous canals became clearer thanks to near-zero boat traffic during the country's lockdown.

Large cruise ships have since been banned from Venice and a €10 ($11.7) tourism tax has been introduced as the authorities work to preserve the ancient city’s fragile ecosystem and curb overtourism.

Updated: September 20th 2021, 10:04 AM