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4.5 star rating: Recommended 32 Reviews

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  • Location:Venice, Italy
  • Duration:90 minutes (approx.)

Venice Gondola School: Learn How to Be a Gondolier

Learn how to be a gondolier in Venice on a 1.5-hour gondola experience on the city’s beautiful canals! Meet your instructor, and learn how to maneuver a ‘gondoletto’ (training boat) around the Venetian lagoon and glide through the quieter city canals.

Numbers are limited to 6 on this small-group activity, ensuring personalized attention at all times.


  • 1.5-hour gondolier experience in Venice
  • Learn how to be a gondolier from a local expert
  • Glide around the canals on board a sturdy gondoletto, a training boat
  • Discover how to stop, steer and row effectively
  • Hear tales about the lives of gondoliers and the history of the iconic gondolas in Venice
  • Small-group experience with a maximum of 6 people ensures a personalized experience

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

This is the only tour where you can learn how to be a gondolier! It's great fun and an interactive experience.

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Venice Gondola School: Learn How to Be a Gondolier

Learn how to be a gondolier in Venice!

Meet your instructor in a quiet area of Venice, and then head to the waterside where your gondoletto is ready and waiting for you. More stable than traditional gondolas, gondoletti have been used for centuries to train the Venetian gondoliers.

Start your experience with some on-land training to learn how to keep your balance on the water. Then, hop aboard your gondoletto and discover the tricks to gently row, steer and stop on the open water. Each group member will take turns at the helm, and your instructor will be close by to give you all the attention you need.

Stand facing the bow, and learn how to row with your long single oar. Practice your strokes on quieter canals; when you feel more confident, head out along the picturesque canals.

As you glide, listen to your instructor talk about the history of the boats and of life as a gondolier in Venice. Dating back some 1,500 years, gondolas were invented to help the early Venetians travel around the waters of the Venetian lagoon. Competition for the ancient job is still fierce, and there’s a grueling training program for all wannabe gondoliers. To qualify, trainees must study Venetian history and architecture, a foreign language and sailing techniques. At the end of their apprenticeship, gondoliers must pass a comprehensive exam before finally taking to the water.

After nearly 1.5-hour of learning how to be a gondolier, return to dry land and bid your instructor a fond farewell. Your gondolier experience finishes in the same place as the starting point.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

We want to tell you how wonderful our tour was with Caroline! She was fantastic, fun, patient, kind, very knowledgeable, and a great teacher! She made our tour fun and exciting! I have recommended this tour to everyone I know that goes to Venice. Even folks who go to Italy, I tell them to get to Venice, even if just for the day, and take this tour! Whenever I am in Italy, I will definitely be taking all my family and friends on this tour. This was way better than just taking a gondolier ride!
Caroline gave us a onceinalifetime, absolutely faaaabulous experience that we will always cherish! Don't miss out on this tour!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

This was my favorite thing I did in Venice! What fun! Why ride in the gondola when you can drive it? Everyone should do this!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

Was the perfect way to get quality time on a gondola, and appreciate the skill required. The instructor was magnificent.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

Going to Gondola school was a really different and special thing to do. My wife and I both had a go at rowing and we were expertly tutored by a female gondolier. She was very knowledgeable and patient with us both.
We will definitely do this again but you have to be fit!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

I was absolutely stoked about this activity. I cannot recommend it more. Eliza was fantastic and very personable. Making your way through the quiet canals with the mini gondola was simply amazing. Peaceful and beautiful, and you're driving it! Fantastic! Thank you!!!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

Really great! Julia was so patient with us, and managed to keep us relaxed throughout! We learned so much more about the way navigation is run in Venice, had the best time on the canals and then out in the open laguna. Absolutely memorable experience and a super bargain for the price considering the prices in Venice are high on all tourist attratractions. What a super idea you've had and I am so glad I found this activity by chance on the net.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

I highly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to know more about rowing and the importance of the canal in Venice. Ana was amazing, and inspiring. She was a passionate and knowledgable teacher. She instilled confidence enough to make me feel excited about rowing and not terrified of falling in. It was a wonderful picture of how Venetians use the canals for everything and how rowing can slow down the pace of the city in an extremely positive way.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

My instructor, Caroline, was amazing! On the day I arrived I was the only one rowing so she gave me lots of personal attention and was great with communication. It's a great experience to have and a unique spin on navigating the canals and lagoon of Northern Venice as a tourist. The company provides directions to the meetup spot and lets you know to allow plenty of time to arrive since Venice is tricky to commute in. Highly recommended experience.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Great lesson

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Had so much fun! Practiced rowing and steering, and our guide Felix was very helpful and friendly. Seeing Venice from a different perspective was great, and we learned some history along the way. Don't just take a touristy gondola ride while you're in Venice -- learn to be a gondolier yourself!

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Tour code: 6144GONDOLIER


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