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Visit to the surprising workshop of the Venetian “Mad” forcola maker

The best way to delve deep into the real “remèr” (the Venetian dialect for rowlock maker) world is booking a complete visit to the atelier of the Forcolaio Matto (the Mad Rowlock Maker). Here Piero Dri, who decided to open his workshop after graduating in Astronomy to handcrafts the special Venetian rowlocks and the oars used on gondolas, will tell participants the story of this seven-century-old craft, unveiling the secrets of the gondola. Piero will illustrate all the phases of the making process of a forcola, starting from the walnut log, to the final sculpture, and the peculiarities of the Venetian rowing.

Family friendly Venetian heritage In action

Il Forcolaio Matto

Rowlock making

The mad rowlock makerIn Venice, rowlocks and oars are special, just like the gondolas on which they are used. The Venetian rowlock is called a "forcola", and today there are only four forcolai left in the city. The youngest of them is Piero Dri, who calls himself "Il Forcolaio Matto" (the mad rowlock maker), because when he started, after the 2008 economic crisis, many told him he was crazy to invest in this business. But Piero was determined, and having learnt all the secrets of the trade from his master, Paolo Brandolisio, he opened his own workshop, where he continues a tradition that dates back many centuries. “I wanted to create something where you could breathe tradition but not in a nostalgic way,” he says. “I don't like feeling sorry for myself, so I wanted to make a cheerful impression on a traditional profession.”

Audio guide

Audio guide

A free audio guide, available to stream from 10 April to 1 May, will enhance your experience of Homo Faber in Citta. Discover more about Venice, its crafts workshops and its heritage as a city of craftsmanship, to complement your personal tour.


Where you'll be

Address Ramo dell'Oca, Cannaregio 4231,
30121, Venice

+393482528611 Send an email Website
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Visit to the surprising workshop of the Venetian “Mad” forcola maker Book

Things to know

  •   Guest requirements

    Please stay informed about the latest Covid safety requirements in Venice and comply with any requests from the venues you visit, to ensure the safety of yourself and the participating artisans.

  •   When to arrive

    Make sure you arrive on time at each venue (although no more than ten minutes early), to make the most of your experience and the artisan’s time. Please call the venue ahead of time if you are likely to be late.

  •   Cancellation policy

    Please let us know if you wish to cancel your booking so that we may offer the opportunity to another visitor. Cancel or rebook directly on your account or via your confirmation or reminder email. If cancelling on the day of your event, kindly inform the venue by telephone.