It is not a joke; you can actually have a similar experience to riding a very expensive Venetian gondola for just a fraction of the price- 2 Euros. A 30 minute ride in a real gondola costs 80 Euros during the day and 100 Euros during the night, so if you are traveling on a tight budget or you just do not want to spend this much money, crossing the Grand Canal in one of the Venetian boats may be the best solution for you.
Historically, for a very long time there were no bridges across the Grand Canal in Venice. The first wooden bridge across the Grand Canal was built in the 13th century. This first version of the Rialto Bridge collapsed under the weight of people in the 15th century already. The final stonework version of the Rialto Bridge, the one that can be seen today, was completed in the 16th century. Until 1854, Bridge Rialto was the only bridge across this 3.5 km long canal.
There is a simple reason why Venetian citizens were not trying to build bridges across the Grand Canal for so long- They all used boats or gondolas to get around the city. With time, gondolas were established that would take passengers from one bank of the Grand Canal to the other for a small fee.
These lines are called Traghetto (or a ferry in English).
This is a very long tradition that was often carried out by the same family members for generations. Sadly, this activity is slowly dying out, since tourists are not aware of the existence of these boats, whilst the number of actual residence is continually diminishing due to the intricacies of living on the Venetian Islands, soaring real-estate prices and an incredible number of tourists that all together make the everyday life rather complicated
Given all this, try not to make a mistake of not enjoying the ride in one of these boats, since it a very pleasant experience and costs much less than a traditional gondola we all know so well.
These gondolas are operated by two gondoliers instead of the one gondolier on a traditional tourist gondola. These boats are quite similar to their tourist counterparts, but a tragetto boat can accommodate up to 14 passenger’s in one go. Before the 1950s, there were around 30 of these boat lines, while today their number has fallen to only a few. Even though on other websites you can find that 7 of these lines are still operating, the real number is actually 4.
Active Traghetto lines in Venice
Traghetto San Tomà
Traghetto di Santa Sofia
Traghetto San Samuele
Traghetto Santa Maria del Giglio
By clicking on the map you will find the location of the Traghetto Santa Maria del Giglio. We have chosen this line, since it is the most convenient one for the tourists.
Ticket prices for Traghetto Gondolas in Venice
Regular ticket price is 2 Euros.
Ticket price for residents is 0.70 Euros.
Working hours for the Traghetto Gondolas in Venice
The Traghetto lines normally operate from 7:30 to 20h.
However, some of these lines may be closed during the winter months due to the shortage of passengers.