The symbol of Venice, the gondola is the typical Venetian boat. This is where the tightly woven network of canals, that penetrate into the city, develops in a completely distinct direction from the routes on land, in fact many canals are not flanked by fondamenta (streets) for pedestrians. Crossing Venice in a gondola allows you to see the most hidden parts of the city that would be otherwise out of bounds.
The cost of a gondola trip can be around 80 Euros – this is the approximate price for 40 minutes. It is certainly not one of the cheapest solutions, but the experience of by being lulled by the waves gliding along the canals of the Serenissima is priceless.
The water tour can start from any point of the city, but you will find a higher availability of gondolas in the vicinity of the main canals or of the busiest calli (streets). The gondoliers are easily distinguishable by their characteristic sailor attire, complete with a straw hat.
Gondolas are so loved by Venetians that they are the protagonists of singular events, such as regattas, or in the occasion of particularly suggestive wedding ceremonies. In this case tradition requires the boat to be prepared in a particular way and the gondoliers have to wear their white and gold uniform.
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To do the classic tour along the canals you hire the gondola that is called “da nolo” (for hire) for this very reason. It is a gondola that appears in all its splendour, embellished with all those accessories – the so-called “parecio” in Venetian dialect – that make the journey extremely comfortable and the gondola the most elegant of boats. You cannot deprive yourself of the suggestive experience of seeing Venice from a gondola: for the most romantic of you tours with an included serenade are organised.
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While the “da nolo” gondolas are preferred in general by tourists visiting the city, Venetians are the most frequent users of the gondola ferry, that transports passengers from one side of the Grand Canal to the other. Consequently its route is always very short.
To avoid losing your balance, it is advisable to sit on the sides of the gondola. For each crossing a fare of 50 Eurocents is applied, to be paid to the gondolier when boarding.
In days when there are public transport strikes, the gondola ferry is no doubt the best way to move quickly from one side of the city to the other crossing the Grand Canal.
You can find the public gondola ferry at the following gondola ferry embarking points:
Santa Sofia weekday timetable 7.30/13.00 holiday timetable 8.45/19.00
This is a particularly busy ferry, as it allows whoever is coming from Cannaregio or from the neighbouring islands to easily reach the Rialto market and go back without having to cross Rialto bridge. Vice versa it allows whoever is coming from the central districts of S.Polo and S.Croce to reach Cannaregio.
Carbon weekday timetable 8.00/13.00
The ferry connects the S.Marco district (from the Riva del Carbon area) with S.Polo. It is particularly handy for whoever wishes to avoid the “traffic” on Rialto Bridge and in the streets that lead there.
S.Tomà weekday timetable 7.30/20.00 holiday timetable 8.30/19.30
This ferry allows whoever is in the western part of the S.Polo district (S.Tomà-Frari) or in the northern part of Dorsoduro (Ca’ Foscari) to reach the western part of the S.Marco district (Campo S.Angelo or Campo S.Stefano). And vice versa.
Santa Maria del Giglio weekday and holiday timetable 9.00/18.00
This ferry allows whoever is in the S.Marco area to reach the Salute and Zattere areas, in the eastern part of the Dorsoduro district and vice versa. On the day Venice celebrates the Madonna della Salute, the ferry is replaced by a “votive bridge” supported by pontoons to allow the Venetians to reach the church.
Dogana weekday and holiday timetable 9.00/14.00
This ferry allows whoever is in the Saint Mark’s Square area to reach Punta della Dogana in the Dorsoduro district.
weekday timetable 8.30/13.30 hours
The ferry allows whoever is in the western part of the San Marco district to reach the eastern part of Dorsoduro and from here reach the Accademia – Piazzale Roma artery, that cuts through the heart of the district.
This ferry connects two important cultural sites: Palazzo Grassi and Ca’Rezzonico, that respectively house important contemporary art exhibitions and the Museum of Eighteenth Century Venice.