"The name that in Venice is given to a light Boat ready to be used in a race in a regatta and carrying only four oarsmen. We know that traditionally this kind of Boat was called "Balotina" because in the past it was used by Venetian hunters when they went into the marhes to kill marine ducks with terracotta pellets known in dialect sa "Balote", which were shot from a cross bow. They called the killing of the ducks with the pellets "Balar" or "Sbalar".

"What we call a light little Boat with eight oars, which is magnificently decorated when there are regattas or other public appearances, to takes, to take part in the regatta. A woman wearing feathers is sometimes also called "Bissona" because the "Bissone" are decorated with plumes".

"A most beautiful craft, rich in carvings, gilding and velvets that the Doge used on the solemn aoccasion of public appearance, mention being found of it as early as during the times of Doge Pietro Tradonico. From 1311, the Bucintoro was drawn by other boats and later was propelled by oarsmen. The last one was lunched on the 12th January 1728. It was 34.80 metres long, 7.308 metres wide and 8.352 metres high. The body was divided into two storeys in such a way that, as the exposed section was greater than the part underwater, the vessel was only used when the sea and sky were calm and serene. It had 42 oars rowed by 168 chosen workers from the Arsenal. The gilded parts of this legendary vessel having been barbarously and foolishly burned in 1798 (by the occupyng Frennch), the Bucintoro was then armed with 4 large cannons and its name having been changed to "Idra", it was used to defend the lagoon and as a prison for slaves." Recently the idea of recostructing this fantastic boat has been discussed. Many Venetians, however, claim that this would be impossible as no detailed building plans have survived and, furthermore, there are no carpenters skilled enough. It is uncertain whether the name "Bucintoro" derives from "Bucio" or "Buzo", a certain kind of boat that then decorated with golden sculptures could have taken the name "Bucio d’oro" and thus "Bucindoro" and "Bucintoro". Others claim the name derives from "ducentorum" or rather a vessel suitable for two hundred men, then corrupted to become "bucentorum".

"An almost domestic craft for the extensive use that has been made of it in Venice....Actually the first gondolas were nothing more than small boats covered with a multi-colored or flowered cloth, held up by laths curved into an arch ! But as this offered little or no protection for the passanger against the rigors of the seasons, in the 16th century the covering was made more solid and lasting. Passing then from the necessary to the superfluous, the gondolas were decorated in excessively rich materials and the prow and the stern were ornamented with two curved pieces of iron garnished with small points. The Magistrate of the three "Provveditori alle Pompe" deemed this luxury excessive and he attempted to curb it : whence, at the end of the same century, all the gondolas were indiscriminately coovered in heavy woollen cloth, quite ordinary, which was called "rascia" and it was decreed that this cloth was always to be black. Finally in the 18th century, the piece of iron was removed from the stern and that on the prow was remodelled, and with further additions for the sake of comfort and not luxury, the gondola was brought to that state of simple perfection, in which although a storm may rage or the sun’s rays beat down fiercely, one can move though the canals of the city protected from any onslaught of bad weather and in comfort."

"during the Regattas, this was the name given to a Great Platform erected at the bend of the Grand Canal between the Palace of the Foscari Family and that of the Balbi Family, at the entrance to the canal of S.Pantaleone, where presided, as if at a trial, the three Judges of the Race, or Joust, who adjudicated the Prizes. This platform sometimes represented a garden, at others a tower or likewise, and it was always magnificently decorated, and fitting for the national display. Here were the four flags to be presented to the first fourth, on which was painted a suckling pig, yellow. Each flag, set up in that order, held a purse containing the money prize tied to its pole, which is the object of the race and which is called "La Machina" in dialect, or could be referred to as "La Riparata", by analogy with the race of the Palio".

a boat generally used in river navigation, propelled by four, six or eight rowers, and also used during the Regattas. It was then richly and magnificently decorated.

a boat with six rowers once used by vegetable gardeners of the islands.

a six-oared boat, the present day "caiccio"

a boat used for gathering scallops in the lagoon.

a one-oared lagoon boat.

a small galley with one mast which could also be rowed.

a ship propelled by oars and sails ; it was an agile war ship.


the biggest of the fighting galleys.

a slightly shorter boat than the Bissona, but of the same slim and elegant shape ; it held six rowers.

a boat with two rowers

a type of large boat used in battles.

a small lagoon boat with one or two oars.


an ancient sailing vessel with three masts, also used in war.

a boat used to collect rubbish.

a boat yard in which boats are built and repaired.

Copyright ©Antonio De Vecchi - hosted by BP2 srl