Hidden treasures

Traditional sailing in the Venice lagoon: the al terzo sail (lugsail)

Local Traditions
Vela_al_terzo

Traditional sailing in the Venice lagoon: the al terzo sail (lugsail)

Across the Venice lagoon - along the bridge between Venice and Mestre, near Chioggia or when heading to Lido or the Isle of Torcello – one can easily spot traditional boats with wide colourful sails, rigged in a particular way once used on fishing boats or transport boats and common throughout the Adriatic sea: the al terzo sail (literally lugsail) so called as the spar is attached to the mast at a third of its length.

This type of sail represents the most natural transition from the very ancient classical square sails to the typical triangular sails that are common in contemporary sailing boats. The most ancient records of the use of this type of sail date back to the 17th century.

On fishing boats the sail was decorated with bright colours painted with sponges and dyes that were easily available and made of natural elements. This treatment would preserve the material as well as prove useful to spot the boat from a distance and also at night. This custom gave rise at the end of the 19th century to a true heraldry amongst fishermen.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: The Italia Theatre in Cannaregio

teatro_Italia_venezia
Unknown places & works

Along the busy road linking Santa Lucia train station to the Rialto Bridge in Venice there stands a peculiar neo-Gothic building with t...

View

Treviso: Villa Condulmer in Mogliano Veneto and Giuseppe Verdi

villa-condulmer
Big Names

Giuseppe Verdi is one of the most famous musicians of the 19th century... Even those who are not Opera experts recognise the arias of h...

View

Padua: The Anatomical Theatre at the University of Padua

teatro-anatomico-padova
Unknown places & works

The University of Padua, founded in 1222, is one of the most important symbols of culture in Italy... There are lots of places to disco...

View

Venice: The underwater Nativity set in the Venice lagoon

presepe-sommerso
Unknown places & works

On 26 January 1961 the Croatian Wrmac merchant ship sank off the island of Lido in the Venetian Lagoon, about 3 miles outside the harbo...

View

Top posts

Vicenza: The scenography of the Teatro Olimpico (‘Olympic theatre’)

olimpico-scenografia
Historical Curiosities

Vicenza is the city of Andrea Palladio (1508- 1580), one of the greatest architects of all time, especially as his classicism influence...

View

Padua: The ghosts in the Castle of Monselice

castello-monselice
Mysteries & Legends

Monselice is a splendid medieval town located on the hills south of Padova, offering stunning views on the surrounding landscape. The m...

View

Venice: The Othello by Orson Welles and the Bovolo stairs in Venice

Otello
Film Locations

Since the beginning of the seventh art, Venice has been chosen by many directors as a backdrop for movies, some have even made the hist...

View

Venice: The Garden of Eden on the Giudecca Island in Venice

giardino-eden-venezia
Unknown places & works

Behind the male prison on the Giudecca Island, there is a secret hidden garden, concealed from sight and with an intriguing name: the G...

View