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Gondola construction occurring at a squero

The term squero is the Venetian word for a boatyard. The plural for this term is squeri. Traditional boats such as the sandolo, mascareta, puparin, and gondola are still hand-built in traditional squeri. These traditional squeri are home to some of the world’s most talented wooden boat craftsmen, the squerarioli.[1] Most squeri are small, often dedicated to building only one particular type of boat. The loading area of a squero consists of a downward sloping ground that goes directly from the boatyard into the canal. This allows effortless transport and also eliminates the risk of damaging boats.[2] The largest and most well-known squero in Venice is the Arsenale, also known as the "State Squero", founded in 1104 A.D. and still standing today.


Historical Usage

Traditional boats were handcrafted in Venice and each squero specialized in a different type of boat, this was done in order to meet the demands of the Venetian residents. A few characteristics of all traditional boats are common, including flat bottoms and a narrow draft hull. These characteristics are necessary to allow the ships to navigate throughout the shallow waters of the Lagoon. Specific squeri would typically specialize in the manufacture of one type of boat in order to maximize productivity. For example, a squero which created gondole will need to manufacture the boats in such a way to allow the gondolier to paddle on just one side of the boat without causing it to turn.

Squeri Today

Squero di San Trovaso

There are seven squeri in the Venice lagoon that still build traditional boats. The oldest functioning squero still in existence is the Squero of San Trovaso, which dates back to the year 1612 when it employed approximately 60 boatbuilders. [3]

Table of Existing Squeri

The following is a compilation of the remaining traditional squeri in the Venice and the surrounding lagoon islands. [4]

Title District Open/Closed Management Primary Service Annual Production
Cantiere Vidal Burano Open Vidal Family New Boat Construction 4 New Boats
Cantiere Amadi Burano Open Vittorio Amadi New Boat Construction 0-1 New Boat(s)
Squero Crea Dorsoduro Open Franco Vienello New Boat Construction 5-6 New Boats
Squero Canaletto Cannaregio Open Thom Price New Gondola 1 New Gondola
Squero of Giudecca Dorsoduro Open Roberto Dei New Gondola 5 New Gondole
Squero at Ognissanti Dorsoduro Open Nedis New Gondola 2-3 New Gondole
Squero of San Trovaso Dorsoduro Open Lorenzo New Gondola 1 New Gondola
Squero of Strada Guidecca Dorsoduro Closed Unknown No Operations N/A
Squero on San Pietro Castello Closed Unknown No Operations N/A
Squero on Mendicanti Canal Cannaregio Closed Circolo Nautico Rowing Club Boat N/A
Squero on Mendicanti Cannaregio Closed Unknown Storage Facility N/A
Squero at Anconeta Cannaregio Closed Unknown Storage Facility N/A
Sqero at Servi Cannaregio Closed Arzana Boat Preservation N/A
Squero in Corte of Mutti Cannaregio Closed Unknown Under Construction N/A

Squeri Locations

See Also


  1. "The Gondola, Its History and Usefulness." Sito Ufficiale Della Gondola Veneziana. Web. 12 Oct. 2011. <http://www.gondolavenezia.it/history.asp>.
  2. Catalano, Brian, Kristen Gervais, and Ryan Sinapius. Preserving the Nautical Traditions and Maritime Heritage of Venice, Italy. Interactive Qualifying Project, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2005.
  3. Bigda, Bryan, Michelle Dubuke, Daniel LaTorella, and Jennifer Richards. Museo Arzanà: Preserving the Traditional Boats of Venice. Interactive Qualifying Project, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2007.
  4. Candlish, Sean, Craig Shevlin, and Sarah Stout. The Traditional Boats of Venice: Assessing a Maritime Heritage. Interactive Qualifying Project, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2004.



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