The gondola is a staple in the romantic city of Venice. Between the timetables, the routes, the different prices, many questions arise, especially for a first stay in our magnificent city. In this article we give you our complete guide to gondola rides in Venice!
The history of Gondolas
The Venetian Gondola is a traditional vessel that has been around since 1094 and is easily recognizable because it is made of black wood. The gondolas are made of wood in Venice, with 280 pieces of wood from 8 different woods (oak, larch, walnut, cherry, linden, cedar, mahogany and fir) and two metal blocks located in the bow and stern. The ship is 10.8 meters long, 1.38 meters wide and weighs 600 kilograms. Low and light maneuverability is propelled by a rower which stands at the left rear while rowing on the right side, which is why the asymmetry of the gondola was introduced in the 19th century.
In addition, you can visit the gondola-making workshop in the Dorsoduro district not far from the Church of San Trovaso. In the 17th and 18th centuries there were between 8,000 and 10,000 gondolas in Venice (the Duke of the Doge’s Palace once brought them to the palace), today there are hardly more than 400.
They have become a symbol of the city and a unique means of transport (and therefore have a very tourist significance), and for us it is essential to visit our beautiful city Venice by gondolas on your first stay. You won’t be able to do this anywhere else, so make the most of it! When you are in Venice, a gondola ride is definitely an experience not to be missed, and especially an activity that you can certainly do when you are a couple.
What is the gondola ride in Venice?
The goal is to be transported by the gondola on the canals of Venice. You’ll see Venice in different ways – on the water – and enter the far corners of the city. The presentation lasts about 30 to 40 minutes for the lucky ones. During your gondola ride, you will make a loop, that is, you will return to the starting point. Obviously, this is a canal walk and not a city tour. That’s why the gondolier don’t always give you directions!
Please note that there are many routes and some are more amazing than others, like the Grand Canal. Even if the show only lasts half an hour, it will not prevent you from seeing the most beautiful places in Venice, such as Rialto Bridge, Mozart’s house, Punta Gana square, Marco Polo’s house, the Palace of Papadopoli, Santa Maria della Salute, the Fenice Theater, San Zulian Church and Bridge of Sighs.
This activity will also allow you to take beautiful photos of Venice, especially if you can photograph the end of the gondola in the foreground.
Where should we embark on a gondola ride in Venice?
You will recognize the boatman by his beautiful sailor jacket (red and white or black and white), black pants and a straw hat decorated with ribbons. They are standing in the stern and move the basket forward with an oar of 4 meters!
Yes, the job of a gondolier is very difficult. In addition, you must pass a competition to be able to exercise this profession! The sign “Servizio Gondole” in the street indicates where the platform is.
There are several places in the city, especially not far from Piazza San Marco and the Doge’s Palace (at Bacino Orseolo station or near Campo San Moise bridge), and very close to the Rialto Bridge. Yes, these are the most popular tourist areas of Venice (and therefore the areas most disturbed by waves)!
Otherwise, walking away from Piazza San Marco you will often find the gondoliers working alone or in groups, which will provide more privacy. You can of course take a gondola to other parts of Venice. This is why, for less touristy excursions, we advise you to choose a gondola ride in the San Polo district, and of course to avoid the Saint-Marc district.
When is the best time to take a gondola ride?
Ideally, take the gondola at sunset. This schedule will allow you a most romantic gondola ride. However, this is the most popular schedule, especially on the Grand Canal. We advise you to book online.
Otherwise, we advise you as another alternative to choose off-peak hours, preferably in the morning, or at noon!
The prices of a gondola ride in Venice
The price of the gondola ride depends on whether you pay locally or if you book in advance.
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