How We Row

City Barge promotes the amateur sport of rowing, and particularly, the use and enjoyment of Venetian boats and their unique rowing style.

We row VENETIAN STYLE—la Voga alla Veneta. Originating in the Venetian lagoon, it’s the traditional rowing technique made iconic by the gondoliers.


The Venetian rowing style is exceptionally efficient, enjoyable, and unique in so many ways.  Rowers stand up and face forwards in these flat-bottomed boats—and are thus able to see where they’re rowing. Venetian boats are quite agile and easily manoeuvred both in and out of the water, and are propelled by long wooden oars that rest in an open oarlock called a forcola.

The rower at the rear is called the poppiere, in charge of steering and always rows on the starboard side of the craft). In the front is the provino (who rows on the port, or prua side of the boat); who sets the pace of the stroke and is the ‘muscle’.


We are a very active group of about 40 members who take part in a variety of weekly outings organised by the club. In addition, City Barge participates in a number of related national and international rowing events, including the Vogalonga, the 32 kilometre non-competitive, international rowing marathon held annually in Venice.

The Shallop

The club has access to a very elegant ceremonial boat called the Royal Thamesis, which is a six-oared shallop. She is a replica of Queen Mary’s barge of 1689. She needs a cox at the rear and a whiffler at the front to complete her crew.

She is owned by the Drapers Guild in London, but stored near Oxford and operated by City Barge. Candidates for her crew are expected to have previous sitting rowing experience. Training outings to train the crew at working together occur annually. This boat goes to various prestigious events during the year, where she is much admired.