The Gondola makers of Venice


Offered by: Filippo Leonardi (Local press photographer, Magnum Education alum and curator of Bambini del Mondo)

starting at $400 

up to 4 people

approx. 3 hours

Travel photography

Ever wondered what the history of Venice’s gondola is? Want to see how and where they are made?

This one-of-a-kind photo experience with local photojournalist Filippo Leonardi takes you to one of the last remaining gondola workshops (squero). Have a real Venice experience in a 17th-century squero where gondolas are made and repaired to this day and learn about this unique boat – an asymmetrical design that allows gondoliers to navigate the narrow water streets of Venice without changing the side the oar is on.

This experience takes you right where gondolas come to life: Venice’s “squeros.” Gondolas and squeros are central to Venice’s local culture and economy, right from Rennaisance times. Gondola plying and making are coveted professions in Venetian culture, passed down from father and son. See authentic glimpses of the real Venice in one of the very last remaining squeri, in the company of a longtime local photographer.

Any visitor to Venice interested in the iconic gondolas and looking for an opportunity for behind-the-scenes photos at a gondola workshop

Learn about the various styles of craftsmanship used in gondolas, be it the paintings depicted in 15th-century gondolas or the more modern styles coming into play from the 17th century onwards. Gondolas take about a year to complete, with 8 or more different types of wood and over 250 pieces coming together in a single boat. See and shoot the workshop, the artisans and the gondolas in their various stages of production in this authentic and intimate Venice experience.

Additional information

Meeting point
Piazzale Roma bus terminal, close to “Ponte della Costituzione” well known as Calatrava Bridge

Recommended equipment
Any camera and a good lens. A small tripod could be useful but not necessary

Activity level
Medium (we will be walking a fair bit)

Important Notes
Good walking shoes are strongly recommended as we will be walking quite a bit through narrow lanes. Venice can get very windy even in summer, so please carry a light jacket. Please also bring some water and a light snack. Gondola workshops are very private places, so please keep talking amongst yourselves to a minimum once inside a workshop. These are small workshops, sometimes with very tight corners, so please be mindful of your surroundings at all times.