Quick and easy to maneuver, the boat was once the only means to travel and move, but which are the typical Venetian boats?

Let’s start immediately to discover the oldest tradition of the most famous city built on the water: Venice

The origin of typical Venetian boats

Venetian boats have their tradition and history. Born from the need of the Venetians to move within the lagoon, these boats had to be adapted to very narrow canals with shallow waters.

Created to meet the daily needs of the entire population, from the common people to the aristocrats and to manage the commercial side, a true vogatory art has developed that has generated competitions and events during which the gondoliers have challenged and continue to do so.

Over the centuries, Venetian boats have developed in many models and styles: some were built following a specific method and using different types of wood essences to ensure stability, but when the ultimate goal was to transport large loads, the boats were slightly wider and the upholstery was reinforced.

For patrician boats, particular attention was paid to aesthetic details and a refined and graceful style. The typical Venetian boats, in fact, have always been a sort of business card that indicated the social level of the owner.

Rowing boats

If the builders had to exalt the rowing side, the boat was built to be light so the rowers managed to make it “fly” slightly on the waters of the Venetian lagoon.

Furthermore, every single rowing technique required a precise boat model. Naturally, the ability of the rowers has become unique over the centuries! It’s an all-round art handed down from father to son.

The Gondola

The Gondola is the undisputed queen of the Venetian canals, rowed by the gondoliers with an incredible mastery.

If you want to observe Venice from its canals, a Gondola ride is an absolute must. If you’re already planning a vacation in Venice we advise you to book a tour in advance, this is what we chose for you, and it also includes a romantic serenade in pure Venetian style.

The Sampierota

Its name derives from “San Pietro in Volta”, part of the municipality of Pellestrina. Its main feature is the straight wooden bottom, it is used in particular for fishing, and can be rigged with one or two lug sails. Its size is very limited and does not exceed six meters in length, offering in this way a particular resistance and strength at the same time.

The Sandolo, the “family” of old boats

For a very long time it has been one of the most famous and widespread boats in Venice, used particularly for fishing. Compared to the gondola, it’s not very large and reduced.

The Sandolo is not really a boat, but a “family” of boats. Its use began in the 13th century and its name is attributed, according to experts in Venetian history, to the Roman sandal. That’s right, the well-known Roman shoe with a thick sole.

The Mascareta, curiosity and current use

The Mascareta, a very light boat, is widely used in the canals of Venice. Its primary use is fishing. But there is a curiosity about the Mascareta, in fact, among the Venetians it is rumored that its particular name is due to the fact that long ago it was used by prostitutes to move in the canals. Hence the name, which indicated the mask they wore.

Currently, in addition to fishing, it is also used at a competitive level such as women’s rowing competitions.

Pupparin, the elite boat

Like the Mascareta, it belongs to the “family” of the Sandoli and is known for its characteristic curving of the stern that extends upwards. Very fast in navigation, generally the rowers are at maximum two. The aesthetics of Pupparin is distinct, noble and is on a par with the gongola identified as “barca de casada”, a definition that in the past indicated boats used by the patricians.

Have you ever done a gondola tour? Don’t miss this ride aboard a shared traditional gondola!