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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.

Recent Photos of This Tour

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

Robert B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

A very enjoyable way to enjoy Venice. We were rowing the Gondola for 90 minutes and the instructors were very knowledgeable and it was a joy to do, far better than being rowed about

Ian L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

A very enjoyable experience moving about the Northern canals and lagoon that you otherwise probably wouldn't see. It's a really different way to experience Venice.

Francesca and Valentina, who were instructing me, were slightly and understandably delayed getting to the meeting point, and I was able to easily make contact with the organisation to find out what was happening, so no need to have worries on that score.

Wendy J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

The experience was one to remember.

Matthew E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

This was without doubt the highlight of my trip to Europe. My wife and I had a a session to ourselves with our two guides who were super friendly. We learned some basics on the dock before before getting in, and then my wife and I took turns. To me, this felt much more unique than just going on a gondola ride and it made for some great photos.

One small note - apparently the boat we were on wasn't technically a gondola. It was a similar type of boat. This didn't make much of a difference to me.

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. :

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