top of page

#WeirdBoats- the Wooden Ferrari F50 that Floats the Venice Canals


Italian artist Livio de Marchi has a portfolio of exceptionally unusual art.

He sculpts everything imaginable- from clothing, to footwear, to books, to automobiles- with the caveat that they're made entirely of wood. de Marchi's motif takes ordinary items and recreates them through staggeringly impressive woodwork.

Like many great artists unable to obey the norm, some of his works have inexplicably blended multiple art forms together. In de Marchi's case, that means partnering woodworking with automobiles and the nautical tradition to create some impressive, and strangely functional, boats.

While wooden boats are nothing new, de Marchi has taken to building classic automobiles out of wood and then outfitting them with a propeller to serve doubly as a boat. His creations include a 1937 Jaguar SS100, a late 50's/early 60's Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle, and a Fiat Topolino.

The Ferrari took a surprisingly quick 5 months to carve considering other automotive creations of de Marchi have taken in excess of 8 months. The resulting F50 replica weighs a hefty 2000 lbs. and was built to cruise the canals in Italy as part of the annual Carnival of Venice Festival. The F50 is made entirely of laminated pine wood and includes a Yamaha inboard engine as well as meticulous details that match the original Ferrari including the grille, taillights, rims, and emblems (not to mention a custom license plate with the digits 'LDM 2000'). Over the last 30 plus years, de Marchi's strange amalgam of auto-nautical has resulted in multiple trips through Venice in a variety of vessels, not to mention his works being shown in galleries across London, Milan, Paris, Zurich, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The inspiration behind his strange blend of art and powersports came from a surprisingly practical problem- while living in Venice and rowing a boat on the city's famous canals, de Marchi and his son Mattia became ensnared in the typical traffic of commercial boats and water taxis. Rather than continue to struggle rowing, de Marchi was inspired to build a car instead of a boat. Likening the canal to a highway, he became set on building the first 'car' that would treat Venice as a highway rather than as a waterway. His first car-boat was a 1937 Jaguar SS100 with a fully functioning single cylinder Yanmar diesel engine. The Jaguar would do little to change traffic, but it would begin an enjoyable journey for de Marchi that resulted in multiple 'boats' making special trips down the canal. Later versions of his art would include a Yamaha inboard controlled by standard helm steering (and complete with a horn!).

de Marchi's other floating accomplishments include a Japanese-style floating dove, a Japanese-style origami floating hat, and a replica of Cinderella's pumpkin carriage, which was custom built to serve as his daughter's escort on her wedding day.

You can see more of Livio de Marchi's incredible work in his virtual museum.

657 views0 comments


bottom of page