Today´s gondolino is a tension structured model, lighter and faster, of the gondola, but its primitive version can be regarded as her ancestor.
In ancient times it was used for the freschi (boat-promenades) across the lagoon in the stifling summer evenings, and it changed its shape a lot along the centuries. Thin and streamlined, this craft was allowing the navigation in any part of the lagoon, before the worsening of wave motion caused by engine boats.
In 1825 the gondolino was introduced as the main attraction in the races of the Historical Regatta, and today this is its only scope.
The use in specific conditions like those of a race, gave to its shape an opposite evolution as regards that of the gondola: while this become more and more asymmetrical and raised to help the lone gondolier faceing a reality of more and more aggressive waves, the gondolino gets more and more low and symmetric, to exploit at most the calm waters of the racing fields and the two oarers.
The gondolino is the "Formula 1" between Venetian boats and the regatta on these boats represents the main highlight in the Regata Storica, as well as this race awards the real champions of the oar. Unlike the regattas on gondolas, based on the muscular strength of the rowers, the gondolino´s ones bring out the rowing technique and the team spirit of the crew, as the boat is extremely sensitive to the technical skill of the oarsmen.
The gondolino is 10.50 meters long, 1.10 wide, 0,65 centimeters of bottom widthand only 36/38 centimeters in height at the half of the craft. The right lai (broadside) is slightly raised as regards the left, and just next to the head crutch it presents a raised arch called "cava
lo" (horse), where the provier (head rower) leans the right knee to keep the best balance while pushing (see also Rowing Venetian Way).