Guide to Venice Gondolas, Gondoliers, & the
Show just about anyone a photograph of a gondola,
and they'll think of Venice. You'll see them everywhere in the secluded
canals and along the busiest tourist areas when you visit the city. They all look just alike on
the exterior (mandated by law), but the interiors do vary somewhat.
Gondoliers appear to be friendly in general, and many of them wear white shirts,
while a few wear red and white striped shirts. Gondola rides cost around $100 for two people, and generally four people can
split the cost without a surcharge for the extra passengers.
We weren't in the mood to pay $100+ for a ride.
What to do? We took a short ride on a traghetto
The traghetto is a public gondola that is a Venetian substitute for a
ferry. It's used on a limited number of routes to transport passengers
from one main island to another, where a bridge should exist but doesn't.
For 1/2 Euro each, you'll ride across the Grand Canal on a traghetto.
The traghetti (that's the plural), just travel back and forth, back and forth.
If you arrive at the traghetto landing and the gondola is on the other side of
the canal, just wait a few minutes and it will be back. You may be in the
gondola by yourself, or with several other passengers. You can stand in
the traghetto, like the Venetians do, or sit on the side (like we did).
This is actually a pretty neat experience even if you only do it a couple of
times, and most visitors to Venice don't even know about it. The interiors
are not as ornate as the for-hire gondolas, but the boats are the same, and for
a very small amount of money you can experience the feel of the gondola as you
slip across the Grand Canal. (Note the Rough Guide map of Venice shows the