The Venetian boat par excellence, whose origin remains a mystery in spite of extensive research into the subject.
Once, gondolas were extravagantly decorated by their wealthy and titled owners, whose fondness for ostentation was curbed by a sumptuary edict dictating that henceforth they should all be painted black.
The rules for construction are extremely strict: the right side must be 24 millimetres narrower than the left (this assymetry is know as lai); the boat must measure 10.75 metres in length and have an internal breadth of 1.38 metres. The gondola is used exclusively for ferrying persons and for boat races. Eight different types of wood are used in its construction and it is made up of over 280 different parts. The only parts in metal are the characteristic "ferro" of the prow and the "risso" of the stern.
The "ferro" characterises the gondola's prow and guarantees the boat's longitudinal stability, acting as a counterbalance to the gondolier's weight.
Popular tradition has it that the anterior "pettini" represent the six neighbourhoods of the city and the posterior one represents the island of Giudecca; the double "S" curve is the Grand Canal and the lunette, positioned under a stylised doge's cap, is Rialto Bridge.
Created and used exclusively for the Historical Regatta, the gondolino first raced in 1825. It was designed specifically to make the Regatta more competitive and exciting.
It is lighter and swifter than the gondola on which it is modelled. The current version measures 10.5 metres from end to end, whilst its bottom is 0.65 metres wide.
Sixteen-century prints show that this working boat has faithfully preserved all its traditional features.
Although used for fishing (the nets marking out fishing grounds are spread with caorline da seragia), the boat serves mainly for trasporting choice fruit and vegetables from the islands to the city market.
Its distinguishing feature lies the identical shape of the bow and stern, which are elongated and have no boom. The name of the boat suggests that it originally came from Caorle.
A lighter version of the sandolo, used for fishing, racing and boating excursions on the lagoon.
Its length (6-8 metres)varies according to the number of oarsmen (1-4 oars).
It appears to have been named after the masked prostitutes who often used this type of craft.
A speedy vessel once used for maritime surveillance or kept by members of the aristocracy as a town boat (barca da casada).
The poppa (stern) from which the vessel takes its name is expecially prominent.
Rowed with up to four oars, it varies in length from 9 to 10 meters.
The slender, pointed hull and boldly pronunced bow make the pupparin a refined and elegant craft.
This is the rowlock on which the oar rests.
Its characteristic form, the result of centuries of experimentation, gives it the appearance of a sculpture rather than a utensil.
Nothing is left to chance: each curve, each shape, each corner has a precise function. For example, the gondolier uses at least eight different points of the forcola.
Each boat uses a specific forcola for the prow and another for the stern, as they have different measurements.
It has a flat blade and is not fixed to the forcola so that it can be removed quickly when rowing along the narrow city canals.
It varies in length depending on the type of boat.
The oar is also used as a rudder in Venetian-style rowing and acts as a keel for the flat-bottomed boat