If you want to ride a gondola, but don't want to pay 100 euros for the privilege, try one of these instead.
There are only 3 bridges on the Grand Canal so crossing can be problematic, especially if you don't happen to be near one, and have to negotiate the warren of Venetian back streets and alleyways to find the closest.
That's where these things come in.
At about 8 different locations on the Grand Canal, crossing points have been set up using old gondolas that will ferry you from one side to the other.
The real surprise is the price of 0.4 euros each (that's about 25 UK pence), a relative pittance to your Venetian holiday budget.
Obviously seats are pretty limited, so it's a miracle the gondola doesn't tip over when filled with 8 people, most standing, and a speedboat crosses its path.
Anyway, they're called a "Traghetto", and any good tourist map of Venice will show their locations. The best for my money is the one next to the Rialto Bridge, leaving from San Silvestro.
NOTE: If you're in a rush, stick to using the bridges, 'cos they're not always operating - as we found out, when we reached a deserted landing stage, miles from the nearest bridge.
The traghetto is a gondola which helps people cross the grand canal. Great and cheap alternative to the 'real' gondola experience. Good if you are in between the reach of the bridges.. only 3 bridges for the whole grand canal.. This costs only 0.50euros.. but of coz you will have to stand and it lasts for less than 5mins.
This is a cheap way to get the experience of sitting a gondola.. but these little gondola stops are elusive and insignificant.. i tried so hard to find one.. but could did not get to see one until it was time for me to leave!!! arghz!
The Traghetti can be utilised in 2 ways as i see it.
Firstly there proper purpose is as crossing points to get across the Grand Canal. There locations are marked on the maps and cost less than a euro.
Most locals stand up in them.
They are also a cheap gondoal ride, if you dont want to spend the expense of the proper thing and dont mind sharing !
The pics show a Traghetti crossing in fron of a Vaporretto.
If you want to cross the Grand Canal and you're nowhere near a bridge then your best option is the traghetti which act as ferries across the canal (traghetto means ferry in Italian I think). The Traghetti are a fleet of retired Gondolas, stripped of their finery and down to the bare essentials. They cross the Grand Canal at seven points (all usually shown on any good street map) for a fee of around 40cents or 0.4Euros....pay as you get off if memory serves me correctly?
Small yellow Traghetto signs direct you to a crossing point (a small wooden pier) and the boats run pretty much continuously. Sometimes a route will be taken out of service so if you can't see any of the traghetti going to/from the landing then you know to go find a bridge or jump on the number 1 waterbus which goes alternately to opposite banks of the canal each stop.
If you're brave then make the crossing standing up like the locals....personally I'm a bit worried about falling in the canal :o( You can sit if you want to.
They are obviously not suitable for babies in pushchairs or big suitcases etc.
So you cannot afford a ride in a gondola? Why not treat yourself to a crossing of Canale Grande instead then and do what Venetians themselves do. This can be done in seven places along the majestic canal where you find traghetti - gondolas used just to cross this broad canal. The crossing takes a couple of minutes and you usually stand up during the ride. A good alternative to forking out more than 60 euro for a gondola ride, just look for the yellow signs with a gondola on them.
It is almost unbeliveable, there exist cheap gondola ride in Venice. The fact is, it takes only a few minutes across the canale, but it is definetely cheap, costs half of euro only. It is called Traghetto S.M. del Giglio and takes you nearby Santa Maria della Salute and Peggy Gugenhaim Museum.
You can feel the excitement of a gondola ride cheaply by using the ferry crossings that link the various parts of the two sides of the Grand Canal. Venetians use this transportation when they need to move quickly from one side of the Grand Canal to another without crossing one of its three bridges. There is a gondola ferry at San Marcuola, Santa Sofia, San Tomà, San Samuele, Santa Maria del Giglio, and the Dogana (crossable when the strand is repaired).
The fare is € 0,40.
Traghetti (public ferries) are traditionally used by locals to cross the Grand Canal – there are only three bridges – but sadly are an increasingly rare breed. A poor relation to the gondola, these wooden dinghies nonetheless conjure up some of the romance of old-fashioned Venice. A swift plunge of the oars and the journey is complete but, at around EUR 0.50 per trip, it is worth it for the chance to see Venice just as Marco Polo might have done. For travellers who cannot afford the expense, or do not want to succumb to the clichéd idea of taking a tourist gondola ride, this is a better option. The Venetian equivalent of a limousine is the gondola. For the ultimate travelling experience, there is nothing like gliding under the Bridge of Sighs, leaning back in plush red velvet seats and listening to the gentle slap of water against the crumbling palazzi walls. First mentioned in the city’s annals in 1094, there are now just 400 of these sleek, flat-bottomed vessels negotiating the Venetian waters. The traditional cabins that once shielded lascivious English lords and their courtesans from prying eyes were done away with long ago. Today’s gondoliers must rely on fine weather and long summer days for their business, which may account for the high cost of the ride. For visitors who balk at paying EUR 62 for 50 minutes, the cost can be kept down by doubling up with other sightseers. All gondolas can carry up to six people and fees for additional services (such as a singer) should be negotiated prior to setting off. Gondolas depart from St Mark’s Square, the Rialto, Piazzale Roma and the railway station. Fares are set by a central body called The Ente Gondola (tel: (041) 528 5075) and any complaints should be directed here.
If you find a gondola ride a bit expensive (in fact, IT IS!), you can always try this very short gondola rides and make a quick photo to show at home. These are not 'touristic' gondolas, but the everyday transport used by the people of Venice to cross the Grand Canal in areas where none of the 3 bridges are near.
Boarding points are shown on most city maps, and signs are usually posted in streets nearby. Venetians stand during a traghetto crossing, but feel free to sit if you have poor balance. It costed 700 Lire when I was there.
Since there are only 3 bridges that span the Grand Canal, sometimes you'll find yourself stuck on the wrong side of the canal. Instead of walking all the way to the next bridge, you might just jump on a traghetto. The traghetto will take you from one bank of the canal to the other for less than a Euro. It's also a great alternative to the gondolas, which are very expensive.
If you want to feel the emotion of having a gondola trip for less money, you can go to one of the seven 'traghetti' (ferries) working in Venice: you will be carried from one side of The Grand Canal to the other: the 'traghetti' are often used by the Venetians.