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Learn the history and skills of one of Venice’s most iconic professions with a gondolier training! During this unique, 1.5-hour lesson, discover the ancient history of gondoliering and learn the basics of maneuvering the traditional wooden boats. Under the watchful eye of your professional gondolier instructor, practice standing up and paddling on a training ‘gondoletto’ through some of Venice’s less-trafficked canals and out into the open Venetian Lagoon. Numbers are limited to six on this small-group activity for a personalized experience.


  • 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
  • Private experience with a maximum of 5 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.

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What You Can Expect

Private Venice Gondola School: Learn How to Be a Gondolier

Learn how to be a gondolier in Venice!

In the water-logged city of Venice, gondolas have been an important mode of transportation for about 1,500 years. The long wooden boats are still made by hand using time-honored methods, and gondoliers must complete a rigorous training program and apprenticeship before ferrying passengers. Get a taste of the tradition with a unique, hands-on lesson. Make your way to a harbor tucked away in a quiet corner of Venice to meet your instructor, a professional gondolier. Begin your lesson on solid ground while you learn some balancing moves and a short history of gondoliering.

Head out to a quiet canal where a gondoletto awaits. Similar to a gondola but more stable and easier to steer, this training boat is the kind used in professional gondolier training schools. Take your turn at the helm and learn how to row and steer the boat using a single long oar, while your instructor looks on and provides tips. Get your sea legs among Venice’s quieter canals, and then head out into the larger canals and the open waters of the Venetian Lagoon for more practice.

After about 1.5 hours of maneuvering the gondoletto through the city’s scenic waterways, return to the original departure point and bid a fond arrivederci to your instructor. You’re sure to have a renewed appreciation for the skilled gondoliers when you see them cruising through Venice from now on.

Customer Reviews

Lai C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

If you're of the opinion that it's better to do rather than watch, then this is a must. My husband and I took our 13 and 16 year old sons on this. We all had a go at paddling, both in the canals and in the lagoon, at the front of the training godola and also standing up at the back. It was the best thing we did during our short stay. Highly recommended.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

This was my birthday present to myself. My wife and I took the 1 hour lesson and we had Gabriel for our Guide. She was super, took us on the lagoon as well. Would highly recommend this tour.

Ben C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Brilliant tour, knowledgable guide. Great fun, well worth the money.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

best tour ever!!! Lisa and Grnonare spectacular teachers, guides and tutors!! this is the one activity in Venice not to be missed!!!!

Catia R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

This tour was incredible! Our teacher was amazing! And very reassuring, as I and #39;m a little afraid of boats. She made it all possible and I felt comfortable enough to even try a little rowing! Incredible experience worth every penny and more!!!
This is a must!

Serena Y

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

Gondola school was amazing! I'm so glad we did this. So much better than simply riding in one. Our teacher, Nan, said that you can't really understand Venice unless you get on the water, and we couldn't agree more. My husband and I both had such a good time learning to row, actually participating in something so vital to Venetian life. This was an amazing experience, and we'd do it again! Can't recommend enough. Get out there and row. :

Kenna D

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!

Jeffrey R

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.

David B

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!

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