Venice gondola, everything you need to know
A bit like the pizza in Napoli, the gondola became the synonym of Venice, and this mythical bark definitely ingrained the city as the symbol of lovers in the collective imagination. Indeed, nothing more romantic than to visit Venice onboard a gondola, and stroll down the canals in between the loving arms of a partner, admiring the view, and the (very hot) gondolier escorting you and singing for you.
Well, it sounds perfect until the moment you need to pay and realize this experience will be better qualified as a tourist trap, and as romantic as the experience will be, it’s a really expensive one. Here is everything you need to know about the gondola tour in Venice to see if this one-of-a-kind experience is worth its price; your turn to decide.
What is a gondola ride?
First thing first, the gondola ride wasn’t always a touristic attraction, it has a huge part in the history of Venice, and is floating along the canals of the city since the 15th century, maybe even before, but it’s since 1400 that we have the absolute proof, as the gondolas appear in a number of artworks from this period. The gondola is therefore inherent of Venice’s landscape for a long time and was this elegant boat with paddles, sort of carriages reserved for nobles, and rich people escorting their official trips.
At that time, we counted 10,000 gondolas strolling down the canals and lagoon, nowadays only 400 are left. But why is the gondola always an expensive activity? In spite of what we can think, the gondola is not only a very touristic activity raising a lot of money every year, it’s actually a real piece of art, and the elaboration of the gondola as much as the gondolier’s career are passed down from father to son for generations.
It’s a real institution that keeps the soul of Venice alive and preserves the culture and maintains alive the history of the city. The city definitely doesn’t want it to disappear, so the important role the tourists play in this maintenance is central, and knowing this you probably won’t feel so guilty about paying money to keep the patrimony alive…
How much does it cost?
This leads us to the central question, one of the Venice gondola ride costs. Knowing that the gondola is still handmade, painted, and carved according to hundreds of years of know-how, it’s more than any means of transport, it’s the rolls Royce of the boats. Therefore, the costs of the gondola rides are fixed to avoid any competition between the gondoliers and to have control over the patrimony. For a daytime ride, count 80 euros, and after 7 p.m., the prices rise to 100 euros for 40 minutes ride.
If you want to add more time, count 40 euros for every 20 minutes you’ll stay on board, or after 7 p.m., 50 euros. If you want to save some euros, know that the gondola can carry up to 6 persons without adding any more fees; even if you sacrifice a bit of the romantic intimate moment with your beloved, think about your relationship with your wallet…
How does it work?
Each gondola has its own personality, and is ornate and painted differently, and some have comfortable seats and blankets, for you to choose the best one to fancy your desires. The common image of a romantic ride with a singing gondolier in your back is rather a pure fantasy coming straight out of Hollywood movies than reality.
In fact, most of the time the Venice canal rides are mostly lulled by the sound of the tourist, and the (not always) hot gondolier stands in the background with its black pants, striped shirt, and closed dark shoe like a remain from the Venetian paints. They usually choose the path, and the conduct the bark into the narrow canals of Venice, but if you want a special Venice Grand Canal gondola ride or to pass the Bridge of sights, make sure to indicate it before to him, but it might include an extra fee…
The rides are always a fascinating experience, as the bark is tiny and you really feel the slide on the water, for you to know if the idealistic image of the ride compared to the reality of the experience is worth the expensive price. Come on, we all know you want only the hot gondolier…
If you want to know more about Italy you may If you like Italy you might be interested to know about 5 REASONS WHY VENICE ISN’T THE BEST PLACE FOR VACATION, BEST SMALL TOWNS IN ITALY and our TRAVEL GUIDE TO ITALY