Have you ever imagined yourself in a gondoloa gliding down the Grand Canal with your beloved enjoying a romantic moment? Or maybe you just want to enjoy a cultural tradition that you can not experience anywhere else?
Gondolas and Venice are synonymous, and many visitors consider a trip to Venice incomplete if they don’t ride in a gondola. It’s the stuff travel brochures and Hollywood movies are made of.
Or maybe you’re a more practical sort, and you’d like to experience a gondola, but don’t want to leave to big a hole in your pocket? If so, then a traghetto is for you.
A traghetto is a gondola which travels back and forth across the Grand Canal, and traditionally you stand up. You can tell the locals from the tourists by who’s standing, and who’s sitting. Taking the traghetto will set you back a mere 2 euros.
There are only four bridges crossing the Grand Canal, but there are seven traghetti stops. It’s a convenient way to cross from one side to the other, and your feet as well as your pocketbook will thank you for it.
The gondola in the photo is approaching the Ca’d’Oro stop, on the Canarreggio side of the Grand Canal. I took this same traghetto on my trip to Venice in 2007. It cost me fifty cents.
Yes things change and the price is not the only thing – now the gondoliere rows with one hand and uses the other to talk on his cell phone! I admit I was kind of blown away by that, but I guess it’s just all part of a day on the job for him. I wonder how many cell phones are lost in the Grand Canal each day? After all if he can’t be the only gondoliere rowing and talking simultaneously.
What do you think? Have you tried a traghetto or traditional gondola?