Il Forcolaio Matto: oarlocks and oars in Venice

Il forcolaio matto


The boat is safer anchored at the port; but that’s not the aim of boats.     

Paulo Coelho


Il forcolaio matto


The symbiotic link between Venice and the lagoon is indissoluble and indispensable.

The city of Venice is a collection of islands; its houses have the main entrance on the canal side, considering the connection with the boat more important than the secondary exit, in the street.

Much time has passed since Cassiodorus wrote that Venetians kept their boats tied up as pets outside homes.

But the link between Venice and the water is always predominant and it can be noticed continuously: the life of the inhabitants of the Lagoon is conditioned on a daily basis to get on something that floats, be it a vaporetto, a ferry, a “topa”, a “sanpierota” or a modern fiberglass pleasure boat.

Living Venice by boat is a natural thing: you move people and goods, you fish, you do sports (the famous Venetian rowing and paddling) and last but not least, you fall in love with sunrises and sunsets with colours that only the lagoon of Venice can offer.

For most tourists who hastily visit Venice, all the rowboats they see in the canals are gondolas; of course, a little observation spirit is enough to notice the multitude of different models out there.

Each boat, in fact, has been gradually modified over the centuries, so as to adapt perfectly to its use, so much so as to affirm that no two boats are alike.

But all Venetian boats have one thing in common: the Forcola.


Il forcolaio matto


The forcola is a type of oarlock used in Venetian rowing.

It acts as a resistive force, considering the system “oar- oar contact / water-oarlock-rowing” as a second-gen lever.

It is a characteristic tool used in Venetian boats.

A centuries-old experimentation has made the forms of this kind of instruments very elaborate. Each curve, edge, inclination has a precise function in the economy of the rowing. – wikipedia


And the Remer is the Venetian craftsman who deals with the construction of both oarlock and oars.

Piero Dri of Il Forcolaio Matto was also among the first to join the project of Anima Veneziana. Here’s what it tells us!


Il forcolaio matto


Who is Il Forcolaio Matto?

I’m Piero Dri aka Il Forcolaio Matto, I’m 36 years old, and I’m a Venetian craftsman.

I build the oars and oarlocks for the traditional Venetian boats. I learned to row with my grandfather at 4 years old and since then the passion for rowing has always remained in my heart.

This was joined by the passion for wood. I love my job because Forcola is both technical precision and artistic expression. Attention and care for the material and for the details make the difference in a frenetic world in which learning to savour the little things is a must for me.

I sell Forcola all over the world as a sculpture and an art object, a symbol of authentic Venice, on a human scale.

A Venice in which tradition, artistic and cultural heritage are combined with a sustainable lifestyle, not anachronistic but modern, for a better future.

Why did you decide to support Anima Veneziana?

Anima Veneziana Project deserves full support because it wants to be testimony to a Venice that lives, that exists.

I think it is essential to start putting this little revolution into motion now. Venice cannot be an empty container in the eyes of the world but a real city.

A special city that offers the visitor the best of itself. And you have to start again from what is true and still want to be there. I like to support those who think big and dream of change for the better.

How do you dream your Venice?


anima veneziana


I firmly believe that Venice, in this decade, is missing out on a great possibility.

The possibility of becoming an absolute reference point worldwide as an ideal city model. Venice is the place where best to summarize the expression of sustainable development. Steeped in every corner of beauty and wisdom, of cultural and artistic richness, Venice is an indelible heritage, an explosion of complexity, of history, of stimuli.

This, in 2020, must absolutely join the vocation of a Unique City in the World, where you can experience a sustainable modernity compatible with the fragile and beautiful territory of such a special city of water.

Venice as a place to live peacefully, on a human scale, a place where slowness should not be a problem but an occasion, a regenerating resource. A place where different cultures can mix, contaminate – as it has been for centuries – and have the opportunity to create, experiment.

Venice needs residents who love it, respect it and raise it. I dream of a Venice that is an example for the world, in which the citizen is happy to live and the visitor is pervaded by this firm desire to live the symbiosis in a modern key with a context that cannot be found anywhere else.


Thank you Piero fro your kind words and your support!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *