The gondola Body plans is the most well-known boat in the world: even people who have never been to Venice can immediately recognize its unique shape, the metal bow decoration (fèro Body plans) and for the distinctive Venetian rowing style (voga alla veneziana).

Like all the
other lagoon boats the gondola has a flat bottom which allows it to float in very shallow water. The most important characteristic of the gondola is its longitudinal asymmetry: the keel is not straight but curves towards the right so that the gondola lists to the right. This counterbalances the push of the single oar which would tend to direct the boat to the left.

But how was the gondola ‘born’? There was no inventor nor designer: the boat that we see gliding in the Venetian canals was developed through the centuries with gradual and imperceptible variations.

Some curious facts: the gondola weighs about 400 kg, is built using eight different types of wood; the degree of curvature is based on the weight of the gondolier.
Before being used exclusively for tourism, the gondola made use of a removable cabin called a felse for use in the winter or during the night. It came with a door and sliding windows with Venetian blinds and curtains, a mirror and a charcoal burner. The felse was used to protect the passengers from the cold and from prying eyes.

Various other boats belong to the gondola family, these include:

- The Gondolino da regata: a fast boat which is difficult to row, it is used exclusively in the Historic Regatta (Regata Storica). The gondolino made its first appearance (in its modern form) in 1825.
The shape of the gondolino is based on that of the gondola, and its current measurements are: overall length 10.5 m, overall width 1.1 m, keel width 0.65 m, height at mid-length 0.36 m, weight approx. 160 kg.
Body plans

- Barchéta a cóa de gàmbaro: a particular type of gondola with the bow stem stretched forwards and upper sides flared outwards. Instead of the normal metal bow decoration (fèro) it had a downward-pointing metal curl.
The only example of a boat of this kind can be seen at the Maritime Museum (Museo Storico Navale) in Venice.

- Barchèta a massòche: a variation of the classic gondola of which there is only one example conserved at the Museo Storico Navale in Venice. It was less slender and less asymmetrical than the better-known gondola, and was used to transport passengers across the lagoon, for postal services, hospitals, funerals, prisons, etc. It was called the barchèta a massòche (massòche means mallet) due to the shape of its extremities. It was also called barchèta da paràda, gondola lagunar, barchéta da fresco.
Now barchèta a massòche refers to the gondola ferries which cross the Grand Canal.

- Mussìn: boat for two or four oars which was very light, similar to the gondolino but with the bow boom inclined forwards without the metal decoration (fèro). Until a few years ago, it was used as the leading boat in the Regata Storica.

- Disdotona: boat for processions with eighteen (disdòto in Venetian dialect) oarsmen from which it derives its name. The first disdotona was built in 1903, the type used today in 1973. It is 18 m long and can be taken apart into three sections for ease of storage and transport.

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