05 Jun2010

Cheap Thrills…

by Marketman


Follow the trail of locals walking with purpose. That is one piece of advice I would give noive travellers. Locals are probably sick of the multitudes of tourists that descend on Venice every single day, but then again, they probably directly or indirectly rely on the tourists for their employment. The locals know how to get from point A to point B in the quickest possible route, and pay the least possible amount for any transport required in transit. All throughout Venice, there are convenient crossings and shortcuts on gondolas for a FRACTION of the cost of renting your own private gondolier. Called the “traghetto”, this is the way to see Venice’s waterways for cheap, just a couple of euro for each brief crossing…


Tourist maps don’t often point out the traghetto boarding points, so try and find a map that does identify these docks. For just a euro or two you get to cross in a gondola, often manned by two gondoliers, more often than not the older ones with lots of experience.


Most of the traghetto docks are now marked with these snazzy signs in dark green, sponsored by that chi-chi clothing label, Paul & Shark.


Locals often stand in the gondolas for the brief crossing, but I have to say with my height and center of gravity, I felt much safer seated on the bench!


These traghetto not only cost a pittance, they make walking around venice less circuitous and helps you avoid crowding at pedestrian bridges prone to bottlenecks and human traffic.



  1. corrine says:

    thanks for the tip. I didn’t experience this boat. All I remember was we were always walking because Venice is small. when we went to the islands of Murano, Burano and torcello, we used a sort of fast boat to get around.

    Jun 5, 2010 | 1:04 am


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  3. NidaFe Ortego says:

    I agree; these boats are mostly utilized by the locals, and being on them gives one the opportunity to see the locals as they go about their daily comings/goings. Another tip: if you’re an early riser, take a leisurely stroll and get lost amongst the narrow walkways, find a bar and grab “un caffe y un cornetto” and admire the grand architecture before the daytrippers converge and the cruise ships dump dazed tourists!

    Jun 5, 2010 | 7:00 am

  4. Footloose says:

    Fun fact about gondoliers. The tunes that gondoliers sing are called barcarole and the best known barcarole is the one composed by Offenbach. There is a beautiful and touching barcarole written for the guitar by Barrios. Here is a great virtuoso playing it amidst the din and coughing of a live audience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL8bQa7RPpg&feature=related

    Jun 5, 2010 | 7:00 am

  5. Betchay says:

    On our gondola ride, the gondolier sang “Volare”.Actually any song will always be magical and romantic in Venice!

    Jun 5, 2010 | 2:30 pm

  6. Marketfan says:

    Exactly what we did. If I remember correctly, one crossing on the traghetto costs about 0.30 or at most 0.50 euros. This is the commuter gondola. Got the tip from Rick Steve’s books. Useful read for people planning a trip to Europe.

    Jun 7, 2010 | 12:34 pm


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