Matteo Tamassia is born in Florence on July 21st, 1971. Since he was very young, he has been fond of working wood, in particular sculpture, and with his father’s help he was active as a self-taught craftsman in a small workshop of carving and carpentry.
In 1989, after getting his high school diploma , he was employed as a trainee by “The Gondola Dockyard” in Venice (later called the “Crea Dockyard”) . Here as a pupil of the masters Bote and Crea, he was introduced to the world of the traditional boats of the Venetian lagoon, and he learnt many techniques: design, construction and renovation, sculpture and wood carving specialized in decorative gondola bas-reliefs, the manufacturing of forcole, oars and traditional wood processing tools.
At the same time, outside the dockyard, he studied technical nautical design, learning the techniques of rowing in the Venetian way and of “vela al terzo” (sailing with a Latin sail), and participating to the regattas.
When the apprentice period finished he collaborated with the Danish specialist builder and nautical supervisor Kierkegaard in renovation and building operations and in navigational experiences.
During 1999 and 2000, he collaborated as a pupil in Holland in the historical reconstruction of a 17th Century galleon under the guidance of two teachers, a builder and a sculptor.
Back in Venice, he acquired the diploma of Maestro d’ascia (shipwright) and started his own activity at the shipyard of the Professional Institute of Maritime Activities “G. Cini”. Here he collaborated in the maintenance and restoration of the institute’s many wooden boats and as a didactic operator in courses in wooden boat maintenance, restoration, design and construction.
At the same shipyard he was appointed by the artisan association “Confartigianato VE” as lab teacher in the Professional Initial Courses and every winter he designed and constructed a vessel with the assistance and participation of the pupils.
From 2005 he has been collaborating with the “Polo Nautico Vento di Venezia” designing and constructing various rowing, sailing, and motor-driven wooden boats.
Since 2009 he also collaborates with the “Squero Tramontin” in renovation and construction of gondolas and other traditional Venetian boats.