La gondola – of course this is the most classical way for transport through Venezia’s canals. So often I have read that it would be a tourist trap and even overheard German fellow countrymen very badly ranting about the “high prices” when I walked through Venice (I had to try hard to bite my tongue and not answering more aggressive than I did at the end).
30 minutes gondola ride cost between 80 and 100 Euro (prices as of 2014). One gondola can accommodate six people. The price should be a question of perspective.
When I was in Venice the price for 40 minutes was 80 Euro. When I saw the prices I was shocked first but then I asked myself how much I would pay to a taxi/cab driver for being driven around for 30 or 40 minutes. Then I asked myself how much my own income would be, calculated per 40 minutes. My former job involved sitting at a desk with a computer and was not physical labour. And I suddenly became silent and felt ashamed about my first negative thoughts about the prices.
In addition to the actual work a gondoliere does (= rowing people through the canals) he is working self-independent. He must look after his family, accommodation, food, health and social security. He must pay insurance and being a tour guide now I know how high insurances can be when you accommodate guests. A gondoliere has to buy a gondola and has to look after it, repair it and restore it. In 2007 the price for one gondola was approx. 70.000 Euro, by now it is surely higher. Repair is more frequent these days because of the high oxygen content in the water which produces algae. And even if visitors come to town all year, I can't imagine that any visitor would like to do a gondola ride in very rainy weather, so a season for a gondoliere is not 12 months per year but definitely lower. Learning the rowing skill needs several years.
Please consider this all when you look at the prices and find them too high.
It is all up to us. We have the choice to do a gondola ride. If we find it too expensive, we shouldn't do it.
The prices are fixed by the commune by the way. I found information from January 2014 here -> gondola tariff, in various languages.
© Ingrid D., June 2007 (So please do not copy my text or photos without my permission.). Update June 2015: wording.
The so-called romantic gondola ride away is the most expensive transportation that exist at all. The average cost of a fare, which should last 30 minutes, costs approximately 100 euros. In practice, this ride never lasts a full time and the price varies, although it should be fixed and the same for all gondolieri.
Actually, fixed price of 100 euros provides that you can be one of six passengers, how much is the maximum payload gondola. 6 x 16,66 = 99,96 euros, OK that would be nitpicking but gondoliere will gallantlly say that the price is 20 euros per each person, which makes a total of 120 euros. However, most of gondoliers will ask 25-30 euros per person and to most passengers it does not seem too expensive because, a little bit before boarding to gondola, they had bad pizza which have cost equally so.
A gondola is a long narrow black boat you see in some canals in this city. Today it is used for weddings and for pleasure trips.
This kind of boat requires a lot of time to be built. It is 10.85 long and its medium length is around 1.40 meters. It is built with nine kinds of wood.
The average gondola ride lasts forty minutes for a settled price. I think it should be around 80 euros (not per person; per ride). I've read you can bargain to get a lower price. After 7 or 8 p. m. it costs more to do a gondola trip.
I have never been on a gondola, so I can't give any opinion about this attraction. I can only say they are nicely fitted. It is like to travel in a small living room.
When you are in Venice you will see the men who take care of the gondolas. These fellows, not only spend 3 years in an apprenticeship to become a gondolier, but think about their knowledge of so many languages.
If they are not busy with a possible customer, stop and talk to them. Find out about the apprenticeship, and life in Venice. These are excellent resources, and interesting citizens with an ancient skill.
Do you know that the gondola is built to lean?....so that they can control it.
The most famous vehicle of Venice seems to be the black gondola. The opinions about the gondola vary between tourist trap and most romantic way to explore the city.
The gondola is navigated by a standing gondolieri who often wears a striped shirt and a hat. The cost of a 45 min ride is about 65 Euro for up to 6 people. The rates are controlled by the government. Nevertheless, the price can be negotiated with the gondolieri, who will tell you about the city while rowing.
Last time I visited Venice in September 2011 I stop by a gondolier and, pretending to be a writer (ha ha ha) I asked him what was the right price to pay for a gondola ride.
He explained me that all Gondola are regulated by municipality rules.
The rule is that daytime a ride cost 80 euros, no matter how many people in the group and it have to last at least 40 minutes. Nighttime the cost rise up to 100 still for 40 minutes.
The number of people who can participate at the same ride vary with the gondola usually 1-5 people are okay.
Gondolier are not supposed to bargain on the price and, on the other hand, are supposed to respect the fixed 40 minutes. It is possible to trade for a cheaper trip that will last less than 40 minutes.
Riding on a traditional gondola in Venice is a very romantic experience, especially if you are on a honeymoon. However, it does not come cheap and you have to be ready to part with the money.
The city of Venice sets official rates for gondola rides, which start at about €80 for 40 minutes. Additional 20-minute increments are €40. After 7 pm, the base rate climbs to €100, with €50 for an additional 2 minutes. Up to six people can share a gondola.
The important thing is to negotiate for a price which you feel reasonable before taking the gondola ride. My wife and I decided not to try as it is too expensive and we would rather spent the money elsewhere :-)
It was so expensive to do a gondola ride that we didn't do it. It might have been romantic, but I think I would have been thinking about the cost the whole time and that is the first thing to remember if you are thinking about taking a ride. If the price bothers you, don't do it.
The city of Venice sets official rates for gondola rides, which started at something like €80 for 40 minutes but the gondoliers may not stick to that. And after 7 p.m., or special services, such as singing, will make it more expensive.
Of course the gondolier has high expenses - a boat costs €20,000 for a traditional hand-built wooden gondola with a useful life of about 20 years. You get a gondola anywhere throughout the main tourist areas, and busy pedestrian crossings along the secondary canals.
To some it's a tourist trap, to others it's an efficient means of transporation. The attached picture was certainly of the tourist trap variety. Whatever one thinks though, taking the gondola in Venice is part of the experience. On a lucky day, you may get a singing gondoliere! Take a look at the video "Ciao Venezia!" to hear a singing gondoliere with a majestic voice...
Gondolas are one of Venice’s most famous symbols worldwide. This typical Venetian boat is extremely ancient and is the result of a series of extremely complex craft techniques. A gondola is 11 meters long and weighs 600 kilograms. In spite of its considerable weight it is quite ease to maneuver by just one person using a single oar. We recommend you visit the Squero (boatyard) at San Trovaso where gondolas are still made today by the master craftsmen using the ancient techniques.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't HAVE to take a gondola ride in Venice. If you must, take a traghetto (a gondola which is used to cross the Canale Grande - instead of a bridge). It's a lot cheaper but you do take a ride in one, you stand up, not sit!
Some of my favorite photos were taken at the Gondola Ranch (Bacino Orseolo) which is a spot where over a dozen gondole will gather at a time, waiting to pick up passengers. It's near St. Mark's - just north of it as a matter of fact.
Gondolas are asymmetrical in design so that the gondolier, who stands on one side, can keep the boat going straight.
On my next visit I'm going to go visit where they are made.
Here is a question for you -> When you're on honeymoon in Venice, what is a definately "must do"? No, it's not a trick question and the answer is plain and simple -> Have a gondola ride! We had the intention to do our ride on the Canal Grand (Grand Canal) and asked Michele of our B&B for advice. She said that there are two important rules to remember about gondola rides in Venice (and did read this on a website once we returned back home):
01) If the price bothers you, don't do it;
02) If the price doesn't bother you, make sure you understand the gondelier correctly.
This means that we had to negotiate both the rate and length of the ride before we went into the boat.
Earlier that day we saw gondolas and gondoliers throughout the main tourist areas like the Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) and some secundary canals. We went to the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) area and before we knew it we heared someone ask politely "Gondola?" as we walked past the flotillas of parked boats. Time to negotiate!
The gondolier asked €90.- for a 40 minute drive. After toggling off we ended up at €80.- for a 50 minute drive. Not a bad deal we guess? But anyway, it was about time to forget about the price and enjoy the ride and focus on the beautiful scenery.
The gondola is certainly the most photographed craft in the world and its image has become, for million of tourists, the symbol itself of Venice. All those gondola's on the water is a beautiful sight to see. Realizing that we were part of during our ride was just great. Especially at the secundary canals everybody was watching us and maybe it was a bit embarrassing to see that almost all those tourists were taking a picture of us in the gondola. We must have ended up in quite some photo books! :-)
Sitting inside the gondola gave us a nice opportunity to have a close look ath the boat. The famous iron of the head is an element that has to balance the weight of the gondolier. The double "S" bending should simulate the proceeding of the Canal Grande and the lunette. Just remember that the gondola is unique even for it characteristics, because it's asymmetric. Therefore it's to be adviced that the gondelier helps you get in and get out.
We ended our amazing gondola ride with a huge laugh. We asked the gondelier to take a picture of us while sitting in the boat. I gave him my photo camera and wanted to explain to him how the camera works. He said:"Don't you worry. I know how it works, because photographer is my second occupation!"
Off we went towards the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge). To be honest we don't know the exact route we took, but did some secundary canals in the sestieres of Castello and San Marco. The gondelier stood behind us and told us something about the canals and beautiful buildings we passed like Chiesa San Maria Formosa in Castello and Chiesa di San Luca in San Marco. In the main lines (afterwards saw on a map) we concluded that we passed the canals of Rio della Fava, Rio San Sullan, Rio Fuseri, Rio di San Luca and finally returned to the Canal Grande.
During the ride the gondelier told us also something about his great tradition. He was the 4th in line of his family to be gondelier. He told us that he invested a great deal in his boat, nearly €20.000.- for his traditional hand-built wooden gondola with a useful life of about 20 years. He also must earn the bulk of his annual income in a few short months. Finally he made it clear to us that he would be able to earn more money for less work in an industrial plant on the mainland.
So, just be fair to a Venice's gondelier. We figured out that the gondelier's living cost may even be higher than ours, since Venice is an expensive city in one of Italy's wealthiest provinces.
if you have money to waste and your only reason in going to venice is to see it from a gondola then this is your choice of means of transportation.
these small boats are built with similar specifications. same color, size, width and decor. even the same shade of blue is used for the tarp that cover them. it was some aristocrat who ordered them to built like that so they`ve stayed the same for centuries.