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.