Il ferro (iron), the distinctive ornamentation at the prow of a Venetian gondola, the most forward part of the boat, serves as its front bumper protecting it from everyday nicks and scratches and the occasional collision with other craft occupying the cramped, shared space.

More than just a bumper, il ferro, next to the winged lion of St. Mark, is the most recognized symbol of the Most Serene Republic of Venice and describes in its design the City of Canals.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: thepalladiantraveler.com