In case you didn't catch René Seindal's comment on the Half-Size Gondolas, I highly recommend reading his piece on the sandolo a sbatole.
With the permission of Gilberto Penzo, René has created a great translation of the page on these curious boats.
To view more images, along with Gilberto's original writings, check out his page on barche curiose.
Did Venetians independently invent the kayak?
Did a Venetian see one while on an exploration to the far-North and bring the idea back to La Serenissima? One wonders.
Great piece, René.