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Piero Dri

Piero Dri Rowlock maker
Contact
Italian, English
Hours:
Monday to Friday 9:30 - 13:00 / 15:00 - 18:30
Phone:
+39 0418778823
© MVignati

The mad rowlock maker

  • • Piero is proud of being a Venetian
  • • He studied astronomy at Padua University
  • • His clients often display his rowlocks as sculptures in their homes

In Venice even 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.”

Read the full interview

Works

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Traditional forcola, forcola velada & forcola per mascareta

The traditional forcola’s shape is the result of a centuries-long evolution. It allows the gondolier to place the oar in seven different positions to control and row the gondola in any situation. It is always customised according to the gondolier’s height and personal rowing preferences. The forcola velada is the most particular and artistic forcola in Venice, it is only used on very rare and important occasions. The forcola per mascareta is traditionally used by women in Regata Storica, the most famous Venetian rowing regatta, which happens on the first Sunday of September in the Grand Canal, every year.

Height 95 cm
Height 55 cm

Piero Dri Rowlock maker
Photo: © All rights reserved
Traditional forcola

The traditional forcola’s shape is the result of a centuries-long evolution. It allows the gondolier to place the oar in seven different positions to control and row the gondola in any situation. It is always customised according to the gondolier’s height and personal rowing preferences.

Height 95 cm

Piero Dri Rowlock maker
Photo: © All rights reserved
Venetian oars

These are traditional Venetian oars for a gondola. They were handcrafted in wood and painted with colourful stripes.

Height 95 cm

Piero Dri Rowlock maker

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