Rowing in the Venetian style, voga alla veneta, can be quite tricky, at least for a kayaker.
You need to stand up, resting the oar in an open oarlock – the forcola – from which it easily drops, and you’ll be rowing on just one side of the boat, introducing the need to make correcting movements, not unlike the J-stroke used in a canoe.
We are currently the proud owners of a s-ciopon, which is a small boat originally used for hunting in the lagoon, and of a gondola.
We are also members of the Il Caicio, which is a floating cultural association, with the purpose of keeping alive the culture of Venetian rowing and the associated boats and crafts.
The s-ciopon is about 40 years old, 5,5m long and 1,25m wide. It can be rowed with one oar by one person, with two oars by one person (called alla valesana) and by two persons with one oar each. Being very small, it is high manoeuvrable.
The gondola is also about 40 years old, even though we have very little information about its past, except that it has been used for the normal tourist gondola service in Venice for most of its life. It wasn’t in very good shape when we bought it, but we’ve had it fixed up and its perfectly usable.