Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The "Lucia" - Traditional Rowing Boat

While walking around the town of Cernobbio on the shore of Lake Como a few years ago, I spotted this interesting boat on display.
My immediate reaction was:
"Oh, hey, a sandolo!"
As I took a closer look, I realized that while the boat shared many traits with sandoli and other traditional Venetian boats, it was different.
After further research, I learned that it was a traditional "Lucia" - a well-known boat from the region.
There aren't as many of them around any more, but I understand they've been around a long time, and used to be quite common for fishing and recreation.
Realistically, the hull shape is not too different from several other boat designs.
The real identifying feature of a Lucia is her canopy frame.
It's a sort of "covered wagon" hoop design, which is seen both bare and covered depending on the needs of the boat operator at the time.
The rowing style looks familiar, especially if you're a fan of the valesana style...or if you've ever rowed in Alamitos Bay in Naples, California.
Here's a close-up of one of the Lucia's oarlocks that somewhat resembles a forcola.

The rowers (one or two) row with an oar in each hand, facing forward, usually standing up.
The oars are not crossed as they would be in valesana, but are used in similar fashion to the way gondoliers row in Alamitos Bay, as mentioned above.
Today, people still row these boats for sport on Lake Como.
In fact on the day I took the photos in Cernobbio, I spotted one such Lucia being rowed across the lake by two guys who were clearly out for a workout.

1 comment:

René Seindal said...

Its a "batell" - the name "Lucia" refers to a passage in the novel I Promessi Sposi where one of the main characters flees across the Lago di Como in a batell.