One of the most popular idioms in modern speech.
It means "hold on", "go ahead" despite the problems and is often used as moral support in difficult situations, towards each other: "Duri i banchi vecio!" (hard at the benches buddy!)
The original meaning had a more practical connotation and naturally derives from the era in which the Serenissima was at sea with its ships, for defense or for conquest, in which moment of maximum action or ramming the rowers were intimated Duri ai banchi! (hard at the benches!) to warn them to keep firmly anchored to the benches in view of the attack. Today the saying has been slightly compressed from "Duri ai banchi" to "Duri i banchi".