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.
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.”
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.Listen
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