The Gondola. This narrow, black boat is one of the icon's of Venice.
People come here dreaming of a romantic sunset ride on a gondola, being serenaded whist sipping champagne and amazing over this wondrous city....that is until they find out how much it is!!
A gondola ride in Venice is unfortunately a luxury that many tourists can't afford. Although there are supposedly "official rates" for hiring a gondola, it is really up to the individual gondolier how much they try to charge you - you will need to negotiate before getting in the boat. Any it costs more for that serenade too.
If it is in your budget, then there are plenty of places to hire one from - just take a wander and you will see the gondoliers waiting near bridges for your custom.
And if you get lucky, perhaps your sweetheart will propose to you in a gondola, at sunset.....
La gondola – this is of course the most classical way to get transported through Venezia’s canales. I’ve read so often that it is a tourist trap, and even heard Germans ranting badly over the “high prices” while in Venezia (I have to admit that they nearly ended in the canal, and I in jail for throwing tourists into the water).
40 minutes gondola ride cost 80 Euro; the gondola can serve up to 6 people. Well…. it is only a question of perspective. First of all, this is Venezia, a city built on water, and one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. Second, how much would it cost to be driven by a taxi around anywhere for 40 minutes ? Third, now calculate your own income down to the hour – how much are you paid for 40 minutes of work ? But then consider that you would have to pay insurances and all the social security costs on your own. It all is very much based on the point of view. Or who screams scam in Vienna, where a 60 minute Fiaker ride costs around 100 Euro ?
So what do I want to say here ? A gondoliere has to buy his gondola, the prices are very high, around 50.000 Euro. The boat is all handmade, and it takes several weeks to be finished. Given the pollution of the lagoon, a gondola needs to be cleaned from algae much more often than in the past. The season is not all year round – even the hardcore traveller would not likely go on a gondola ride in cold rainy days. And if one ever really watched how these guys and the only female gondoliera of venezia do master moving their boat around – well, this is a real skill, much more skilfull than what I for example do for living (= shoveling papers from A to B and fill out excel charts).
And – it is up to us to treat ourselves with a gondola ride or not. No one forces us to do so. And if we are a party of 6, it is 13 Euro each.
Gondolas are anywhere in town, mostly around Piazza San Marco and along Canal Grande (up to Ponte Rialto). The prices are written on an official paper, which sticks at the front of the gondola.
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.
rent a gondola. you will see more from the City. the off the beaten path, away from the touristjam, but negotiate with the Gonoliere, and of course negotiate the price. don't get fobbed off by the loudmouth and gestures, its all part of the parcel to negotiate, turn away and you see he will tone down and start talking business. enjoy
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.
Gondolas are very expensive ... but if you are with someone you love I can image it worth the money :)
I saw groups taking groups of gondolas ... they went all together and one of the gondolas did had singers ...
I prefer the option of one man and a gondolero :)
The Gondola ride is some peoples ultimate Venice, and that contributes to why they are so expensive! Because people pay it!!
We heard a Gondalier specaking to some Americans, and this was in the daytime, he was going to charge them 80 Euro!!! At night its not unusual to pay 100 !!
They look really romantic, but they are so expensive.
They must all be the same colour and shape, this is to avoid competition.
Taking a gondola is surely the most romantic way to sightsee in Venice.
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.
The institution for the preservation of the gondola and the protection of the gondolier publishes the fares on its official web site: www.gondolavenezia.it
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...
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.
The city of Venice sets official rates for gondola rides, which started at €62 for 50 minutes the last time I checked. Additional 25-minute increments are €31. After 8 p.m., the base rate climbs to €77.50. (Up to six people can share a boat without paying a supplement.)
This doesn't mean you'll actually pay 62 euros, or that you'll get a 50-minute ride. Depending on demand, gondoliers may regard the official rates as a polite fiction. Special services, such as singing, can boost the fare even more.
You'll find gondolas and gondoliers throughout the main tourist areas, from Tronchetto and the Piazzale Roma (where motorists park their cars) to the Rialto Bridge area, the Doge's Palace, and busy pedestrian crossings along the secondary canals. Chances are, you'll encounter men who politely ask "Gondola?" as you walk past the flotillas of parked boats.
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.
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.
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!"
Of course they are expensive, and of course its a dead giveaway that you are a tourist, but if you are with someone you love you must ride in a gondola ...
its the image of Venice that everyone knows, and it is wonderful to slip along the quiet canals, cool in the shade of the buildings which look so high because you are sitting so low ...
Our gondolier couldnt sing, he tried but we asked him to stop - we are lovers of the opera
so he rowed us over to his friend who serenaded us for a few minutes in a lovely tenor voice, then we set off through the narrow canals, after an unscheduled dip in an Australian lake last year I am not a fan of water transport and tried to sit very still, till we came to a low bridge ...
the tide was high, the gleaming ornament on the prow of the gondola would not go under the bridge...we had to lean ...
we leaned and leaned, so much that I was sure we would fall into the canal, I hadnt liked a nice clean lake while wearing a life jacket, I knew I wasnt going to like a Venetian canal
but we glided under the bridge, and sat upright again, safe and dry ...
it was a lovely trip [ride ? float ?] its not something I`d like to do again, but I would always have regretted not doing it ...
Gondoliers are very proud of their craft, we didnt see a shabby gondola, and the boats are passed down from Father to son,
our ride cost 70 euro, if you would like a short ride in a gondola there are gondolas which ferry you across the Grand Canal for very little money, but you wont get singing, or red cushions and flowers, and you wont be alone cuddling that special person who is sharing Venice with you