Venice: Explore Forgotten Dorsoduro and its Sailing Traditions

Venice, Veneto, Italy
Est. 2.7km / 1 hr 30 mins / Map

Venice: Explore Forgotten Dorsoduro and its Sailing Traditions - Cya On The Road

This district, stretching from the Maritime Station of Santa Marta to the north, to Punta della Dogana to the south, is one of the most characteristic of Venice, particularly with reference to boats and traditional sailing. But Dorsoduro also includes other places of great historical, artistic and cultural interest, such as the ancient Madonna della Salute Church, the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, the Accademia Galleries, and Punta della Dogana. As a result of all the knowledge and skills that have been handed down, here at Dorsoduro we can discover many of the ancient yet still authentic crafts of Venice, in the refined woodworking techniques used for the making and maintenance of traditional wooden boats such as gondole, batele, sandoli, bragossi and caorline. All this work is in the head and hands of the expert craftsmen who, quick to recognize the best wood, shape it and adapt it into what will become its future use. Several different implements are used, including hatchets, planes and knives. One of the last craftsmen working today is Saverio Pastor who since 1984 has constructed oars and oarlocks in his workshop. These items are fundamental to the practice of “Voga alla Veneta”, the traditional art of rowing in Venice and its lagoons.Another characteristic point of this itinerary is the Fondamenta Zattere, the waterfront promenade which reflects in the Giudecca Canal, and from where we have an excellent view of Giudecca Island. This long waterfront was the ancient mooring point for the timber brought down along the rivers from the mountains on enormous rafts (zattere), timber which was then used by the boatbuilders (squeraroli). The construction of all the traditional boats, gondole included, took place in the squeri or boatyards. These were small, typically family-run yards, today sadly rare, which once populated Venice and the islands. In the district of Dorsoduro there are two squeri still in operation: San Trovaso and Tramontin. Watch the project’s video on traditional boats of Venice and its lagoon

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