Learn to drive a gondola in Venice

A gondola rowing lesson in Venice
A rowing lesson in Venice. (Photo courtesy of Carolyn Spencer Brown)

Be a gondolier for the day: Take rowing lessons in a bona-fide gondola or other classic Venetian boat

Ever wanted to take the stick and learn how to steer a gondola around the canals of Venice?

Several tour services teach you do just that: spend the afternoon taking gondola rowing lessons.

Well, OK, technically they all have you practice Venetian-style rowing in a gondoletto, or sandalo, which is a kind of Venetian boat that is a bit wider than a gondola—and hence more stable for learners—but you row exactly the same way, using a straight oar on a forcole and everything.

Other resources include rowvenice.com (same lessons as above at €80/$90 for one or two people, €120 for three, €140 for four), and canottierigiudecca.com (a local rowing club that offers 5 lessons for €30—though it's in a canoe, not a gondola).

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