Venice canal boats--best deals?

Old Apr 16th, 2014, 06:26 PM
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Venice canal boats--best deals?

I only will have 2 days in Venice, June 19-21. I know I can get the water taxis to see the Grand Canal, and I know about the expensive gondolas, but do any of you know of a boat company that gives tours of the minor canals? I am not the best walker in the world, but I would love to be able to explore the more interior and less obvious areas of Venice. Have any of you had good experiences with this kind of tour? I am looking for as economical a deal as is feasible. I would love the tour commentary, but would also be happy just to explore and take pictures for my memories..... I am not sure whether I should book something ahead, or would do better to wait until I get there. Thanks for any advice.
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Old Apr 16th, 2014, 06:42 PM
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If you are not a walker, you are in for a very rude surprise staying in the Fondamente Rizzi.

That location is nowhere near a vaporetto stop.

Your best bet is to walk to Piazzale Roma for transportation.

Don't get lost!!!!

Thin
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Old Apr 16th, 2014, 08:24 PM
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"I know I can get the water taxis to see the Grand Canal"
I think you mean a water BUS, a vaporetto, which is a large public water bus ch=hsared by many.

The "minor" canals are too narrow for any but the smallest boats (private water taxis and gondolas) which can fit only a few people and would therefore be pricey. Your best bet might be to join a group gondola tour to see the minor canals.
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Old Apr 16th, 2014, 08:34 PM
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September 2013 we did a topa tour of the small canals with Gian Luca of Vivi Venezia. We spent about an hour and a half with him and here's a link to our review.

http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attrac...ce_Veneto.html
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Old Apr 17th, 2014, 03:42 AM
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Have researching topa tours for our June visit and came up with two companies, Free Tour Venice offers a topa tour, 60 euros/pp for about 2+ hours. Gianluca's charges are more or less the same, he comes highly recommended.
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Old Apr 17th, 2014, 05:13 AM
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"I am looking for as economical a deal as is feasible."

Given the name of the boat, finding an economical deal seems unlikely. In Venice, it's asking for the impossible. Do you know what gas costs in Venice? Are you willing to step into a boat that is not registered and insured for carrying tourist passengers? Would you be willing to sign a waiver, that's written in Italian, that frees the boat owner from all responsibility in the event of an accident? There are numerous private topa owners with whom you could negotiate such an excursion. Whether or not you could find an "economical deal" is a question I can't answer.
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Old Apr 17th, 2014, 06:58 PM
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Thank you. I have written Gian Luca and am hoping to reserve a time.
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Old Apr 17th, 2014, 11:21 PM
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You can ignore NYCFoodie's advice. Gianlucca wont ask you to sign anything, and who knows if he is insured.

We took a tour with him last year, and this is what I wrote:.
We spent a couple of hours with Gian Luca on a motor boat tour of Venice. There was my wife and I, and Gian Luca, so it was like a private tour. We spent almost two hours, cruising the back canals, circumnavigated the Ghetto, saw so many things that are just not visible from the land. There are two Venices, a Land Venice and a Water Venice - take the tour if you'd like to see the Water Venice.

Gian Luca is Venetian, so knows so much about the buildings that we went past. We squeezed down the canal beside the Arsenal, six inches to spare on each side, went under the church of San Stefano - possible as the tide was low. Gian's English is excellent, and he met us exactly on time - which is reassuring when you are not quite sure what your guide looks like. The boat is a typical Venetian work boat, a topa, the sort that a tradesman might use.

http://www.vivivenezia.org/vivivenezia.org/Home.html

Cost 60 euro a passenger, and we bunged him a ten euro tip. Pay in cash.
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Old Apr 18th, 2014, 01:41 AM
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"You can ignore NYCFoodie's advice. Gianlucca wont ask you to sign anything"

I wish older people didn't suffer from bad vision or a loss of reading comprehension skill. Not one word of my post above had anything to do with a guy named Gianluca or a company known as Vivi Venezia. It also didn't offer any advice. My post specifically focused on the "numerous private topa owners with whom you could negotiate such an excursion" and relevant questions one might ask before stepping into a stranger's boat.

If you're the type of person who steps into illegal taxis or car services when you travel, then you may not care about my questions. I wasn't telling anybody what to do.
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Old Apr 18th, 2014, 06:04 AM
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That was pretty darn good advice, Peter!
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Old Apr 18th, 2014, 07:46 AM
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wow, I wish I had read this before I went to Venice in the fall - I had no desire for IMO a cheesy gondola ride but would have love a tour like described above. I hope the 60E per person seems reasonable to the OP - surely not cheap but I would think a boat about as described would be one of the best memories of a lifetime!

Dang, now I'll have to consider another trip that spends some time in Venice!
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Old Apr 18th, 2014, 07:56 AM
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Glad this topic came up, saving for my next trip to Venice
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Old Apr 18th, 2014, 08:49 AM
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I don't think it's smart advice to get into a stranger's small boat without knowing whether or not he has insurance.
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Old Apr 18th, 2014, 05:06 PM
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Still waiting to hear from Gian Luca. 60E is a lot in my budget, but this sounds too memorable to miss and worth it.
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Old Apr 18th, 2014, 06:09 PM
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bookmarking
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Old Apr 18th, 2014, 10:18 PM
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Twoteachers, try sending GianLuca an SMS. I think his phone number is on the ViviVenezie web site
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Old Apr 19th, 2014, 01:47 AM
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Twoteachers, the vivivenezia site is under construction, but you can email Gianluca ([email protected]), he replies by return. I too felt 60euros/pp is rather high, esp since we will be four, but this should be a once in a lifetime experience, know for sure that I'll regret it if we don't take the tour!
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Old Apr 19th, 2014, 02:28 AM
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Do the gondolas have insurance?????

I'm inclined to think this is more of a US concern. I remember my first trip to Venice maybe 15 years ago - we were part of a tour group going on mid-sized boat ride in the lagoon. The boat pulled up to a waterside gas station, the driver flicks a cigarette into the oil slicked water. We did not see any life jackets either. I looked at my husband and said - Italy is different!

Ever seen a dutchman with a helmet in Amsterdam???
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 06:13 PM
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Holy Cow! I don't care if he is insured. I'll just make sure that I am.
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Old Jan 5th, 2015, 05:08 AM
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Insurance in a boat in Venice. Who you going to sue and for what? Stepped ashore and cracked my chin open because I'm too clumsy to get out of a boat? Sorry, let's face it if you are going canal hopping in Venice you will needs a little bit of boat savvy and the ability to "suck it up".

Peter did a Venice-canoe trip a while back if I remember, that would be worth looking at.
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