The Gondola and its Variants

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The family of the gondola is vast and varies and, as well as the most well-known type, boats destined for specific uses such as the version for regattas and those used to cross the Grand Canal called barchéta a massoche or da tragheto.

There are also narrower versions such as the gondolin da regata, the gondolìn da fresco, the mussìn, the balotìna, the fisolera, the gondoleta da fresco and the barcheta a coa de gambaro and others that are larger used to represent rowing clubs. The latter have names based on the number of oarsmen they are built to carry: gondolon a otto,  diesona (ten oarsmen), dodesona (twelve), quatordesona (fourteen), disdotona (eighteen).

Gondola being rowed


The gondola is, without doubt, the most well-known boat in the world. Even those who have never visited Venice recognize it immediately because of its unmistakable shape, the metal ornament on its bow (ferro di prua), and the unusual style of rowing.

As well as being undeniably elegant, the gondola is perfectly suited to the lagoon environment thanks to a series of solutions that are adopted during its construction. Like all the other lagoon boats it has a flat bottom to allow it to float in very shallow water. The most important feature is its longitudinal asymmetry: the keel is not straight but curves towards the right so that the gondola floats leaning to the right. This counterbalances the propulsion of the single oar which would tend to move the boat to the left.

Its basic measurements are: length between the tops of the posts (measured diagonally): 10.725 m, overall length (including the metal ornaments at the bow and stern):  11.03 m, width between planking 133.5 cm, overall width 143.75 cm, width between planking at the bottom: 96.8 cm, height of construction on the right 50 cm, on the left 52,4 cm, maximum asymmetry taken between the mezzeria and the line joining the posts (with the boat in construction): 20.36 cm.

See also: drawings   models


Bow section of the gondola

Stern section of the  gondola.

Aut. G. Penzo

Oarsmen on a gondolino during a timed race to qualify for the Regata Storica.


Gondolino da regata: a very fast boat which is difficult to row, it was designed, and is used, only for the Regata Storica. The  gondolino made its first appearance in its modern form in 1825. The gondolino takes its shape from that of the gondola, and its current measurements are: overall length: 10.5 m, overall width 1.1 m, width of the bottom 0,65 m, height at mid-section 0.36 m, approx. weight 1.6 quintals.

See also: drawings model



Pleasure boat for 10 oarsmen.

The measurements of the diesona built by Agostino Amadi in Burano are:

- overall length: 15.00 m

- overall width: 1.40 m

- construction height: 0.75 m

The disdotóna of the Querini

rowing club


The Disdotona is a ceremonial boat with eighteen (disdòto in Venetian dialect) oarsmen, hence its name. The first disdotona  dates from 1903, the current one from 1973. It is 24 m long, 1.66 m wide with a construction height of  66,6 cm. It can be dismantled to facilitate transport and storage.

Barcheta da tragheto


The barchéta a massoche or da tragheto is larger than the normal gondola and is used for the pubic service of crossing the Grand Canal. It can carry 14 standing passengers plus the crew of two gondoliers.