In 2014, three young Venetians had a bold and brilliant idea: to restore traditional Venetian boats and use them to teach voga alla veneta (the traditional venetian way of paddling) and vela al terzo (traditional sailing).
The Venice On Board project started as a sport and culture association, thanks to the initiative and the dream of Emiliano Simon, Nicola Ebner and Damiano Tonolotto.
The three are healthy and strong, have a combined age of ninety, and this is curious, as they say it is a city that young people look at with distrust…
They established their offices in Sant’Alvise, a remote area at the border of the city, beside the only public slipway left.
They take visitors around the lagoon on traditional boats, to save the traditions that they most love of their city. They design and build tools for sailing and rowing boats, such as forcole (traditional oarlocks), oars, blocks and treenails.
They cherish and give life to a heritage, made of handcrafts and memory, of antique manual abilities and out-of-fashion times. They repeat like a mantra that tradition must evolve, because when it stops, we lose it. They fight against oblivion, they resist, they share, and they hand down.
In the beginning it was mainly non-native Venetian residents, who wanted to approach this practice, maybe because who was born here, gives it for granted, and thinks it’s already gone. Nowadays more and more foreigners and visitors who are just passing by want to try this experience, either a course, an excursion, or group classes.
Unlike motor boats, that let you go through only a small part of the lagoon, boats with flat bottoms open up a whole water world.
And most of all, it is a different way and a special point of view to discover the city, from its low canals towards the top, from the most hidden water streams, enjoying the sparkling lights reflecting on water, that can be appreciated like that.
These are the available packages:
- Voga Via: the typical introduction to rowing, the duration is 90 minutes, guided by an experienced instructor to keep away from mass tourism and rowing around the city in a unique way.
- Voga Via Friends and Family: to share the experience with more people, a bigger boat or more than one boats, with different instructors.
- Voga Via By Night: our favourite, rowing at night, without traffic and surrounded by a magical atmosphere with no time. Duration: 1 hour and a half: if requested it can include a stop in a traditional tavern.
- Traditional sailing: to explore the length and breadth of the lagoon, as you have never experienced it before, only with the sound of wind and water.
- Traditional sailing Friends and Family (only for the brave!) the longest and most complete experience, to discover the most uncontaminated islands in the lagoon, either sailing or rowing.
It is the perfect experience for you if you want to:
- embody the most famous symbol of Venice, a gondoliere, with that type of rowing that made them famous in all the latitudes in the world
- Find out about Venetian nautical traditions, and the tricks that local rowers have been jealously cherishing for all these years
- Live Venetian tourism in an authentic, mindful and sensitive way
- Finish an exciting day the Venetian way, looking at the orange sunset enjoying a fresh beer, with nice, kind and open people.
Proof of the pudding, gents.