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Private Venice Gondola School: Learn How to Be a Gondolier

Veneto, Italy
Book online or call: (888) 651-9785(888) 651-9785

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1 hour 30 minutes (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
Offered in: English


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.

Why Travelers Choose This Tour

Train in secluded canals for a hands-on alternative to standard gondola rides.
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 farewell to your instructor. You’re sure to have a renewed appreciation for the skilled gondoliers when you see them cruising through Venice.

Traveler Photos


Viator Traveler's Reviews

54 Reviews
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Nicholas G
, May 2018

This was one of the most unique things we did! What a cool experience! Luigina and Catalina were great instructors and were very friendly and personable. When they weren't teaching us the ways of a gondolier, we shared a lot of great conversation. They teach you the basics, and once you master those, you may have the opportunity to jump up in the back and pilot the boat even out in open water if they feel you are ready. You then snake your way back through some more of the beautiful and magical canals of Venice. Everyone that goes to Venice pays for a gondola ride, but how many can say they were the gondolier? This is a must-do!

, Nov 2017

We had a wonderful time. We learned so much on this inquest adventure. We had great instruction! Love every moment Nutella!

, Nov 2017

Great class and wonderful experience!

, Sep 2017

What an amazing and unique experience! Definitely harder than it looks but so much fun!

, Aug 2017

A great experience and very rewarding as you get a private gondola rowing lesson and take the gondola out onto the lagoon. A bit scary standing on the back of the boat for the first time but that's what makes it fun!

Lisa M
, Aug 2017

What a great experience this was for our family. I stumbled upon this activity when looking for a gondola ride for our trip to Venice...saw a review for it as an activity recommended for people who like to learn. We chose this over a gondola ride and were thrilled with it. The instructor and translator were amazing. Loved speaking with our translator about Venice. Our instrictor, Luigina was fantastic - so patient and encouraging -- all in Italian. It was a highlight for our trip to Venice. I was humbled at how much more difficult it is to row! A lot harder than it looks but by the end, we all had it somewhat figured out. I would highly recommend it.

, May 2017

Unfortunately, the instructions on the itinerary were too vague and we could not find the meeting point. We wandered around for quite some time and then decided to give up. They called after the appointment had passed to say we missed it and to describe the meeting point. It would have been more helpful if they called at the time of the appointment instead.

Denise J
, Apr 2017

Fantastic and unique experience. Fantastic instructor Anna. We really recommend this tour for everyone.

Lora H
, Dec 2016

Fantastic experience and so much better than paying twice the amount for having someone do it for you. Was a great laugh and would be perfect for couples and families.

Robert B
, Oct 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

Product code: 6144GONDOLIER

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