Venice Gondola ride

Old Jul 10th, 2004, 04:04 PM
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Venice Gondola ride

We will be going to Venice in a couple of weeks and since it's probably going to be the only time we visit Venice, we have to do a gondola ride. I've heard they're expensive, but my husband gave me money on our anniversary so we could ride in a gondola in Venice to celebrate our anniversary. Could someone give me a list of the best places and where they are located in Venice to get a great ride for a reasonable price (if that is possible). It doesn't matter the time of day we do our ride. Thanks!!!!
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Old Jul 10th, 2004, 04:12 PM
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Hi Kastarkey,

Last month I took a 80 euro gondola ride for 25 minutes. We didn't shop around, just took the one nearest our hotel. It was in the afternoon and he didn't sing. The Gondolier wanted 120 euro for 45 minutes. Yes, it is expensive but you can't leave Venice without the experience. There seems to be a lot of places where the rides are launched from scattered all around Venice.
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Old Jul 10th, 2004, 05:38 PM
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ira
 
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Hi K,

As lorraine said, they are all over the place.

You do have to be careful. Ask about length of ride and route. Check the gondola; some are better fitted than others.

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Old Jul 10th, 2004, 09:02 PM
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Hello kastarkey, Just read your post. I was going to post the almost same questions you just posted. Hope you enjoy Venice.

Lorraine3636 - Was the 80 Euro for one person? If so, do you or anyone out there know the cost per couple?

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Old Jul 10th, 2004, 11:34 PM
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Gondola rides are more expensive at night. We went to San marco square to hire one since there were more gondoliers to choose from there, and the fellow near our hotel looked lazy and bored!!!

We paid 120 euros for 45 minutes for our whole family of 5 people. I asked him to go on the smaller canals and also on the grand canal. It was a nice ride but I regretted asking him to go on the grand canal, because I realized that is the same route I had already seem many times from the public vaphoretto ride, so I would rather that he had spent more time on the smaller canals.

Also we went in the dark...if you are a couple this would be romantic but since we were a whole family I would have prefered to have gone at sunset when the colors were beautiful. The dark is romantic but you can't see many colors.

Have fun!
 
Old Jul 11th, 2004, 07:53 AM
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I would check with your hotel and see if they have an arrangement; I would think you would be less likely to be shortchanged in such a situation. You might also see if they know one who will sing, or who will bring a musician.

The rates I have heard are for the trip, not per person. I have never seen a gondola that was not clean and shipshape, but there are some that are fancier than others, such as having a canopy.
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 11:23 AM
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Thanks to all that have helped me out with questions about travel in Italy! We leave this Thursday for 2 weeks and we're so excited!! Our son is stationed with the Army in Vicenza. We will spend time with him and then take a big train trip of northern Italy. I bought a new digital camera and plan on taking lots of pictures and creating many wonderful memories!
Grazie, ciao!
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 12:05 PM
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The city of Venice sets official rates for gondola rides, about E65 for 50 minutes the last time I checked. Added 25-minute increments add E30-35. At night, the rate goes up to about E80. You should be allowed up to 6 people on one boat at these prices.

http://www.gondolavenezia.it/history_tariffe.asp?Pag=43

HOWEVER--individual boat operators often ignore the official rates, as some of the above postings show. Every time we've gone to Venice, we've been able to get close to the official rate by shopping around a bit. In our wanderings, we strike up a conversation with gondoliers until we find one who is reasonable. Some areas have more demand than others, and they are less willing to bargain in these areas.

The Grand Canal is the worst place for a gondola ride--not only can you see the Grand Canal a lot less expensively on a vaporetto, but the canal traffic can make a vaporetto ride rather unpleasant at times. The advantage of a gondola with a good gondolier is that you can get to the out of the way canals and a side of Venice that most tourists never see.

There is also an evening Gondola Serenade Tour that you can book through most hotels and travel agencies that is about E80 for two people. You would share the gondola with up to 4 other people.
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 12:14 PM
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Whatever you do, make sure to hire one only from an official gondola stand. We had been warned in our Rough Guide to not hire one of the solo "rogue" gondola operators but went ahead and did it anyway (just a spur-of-the-moment thing.) He ended up shortchanging us on our agreed-upon time. It was still fun, and worth it, however.
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 12:30 PM
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We were in Venice in October and we booked a 30 minute ride near St Mark's for 45euros! It was higher than that at first but we said no thanks and started to walk away- one of the guys came after us and offered the lower amount- we went- and thoroughly enjoyed the ride and the pictures we took on the way- he also took our picture for us at the end. He said that they are unionized now and that music and singing are much extra! Anyway, be a little "hard to get" and you may get a better price!
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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On our Italian trip, we opted not to do the gondola ride for a number of reasons. We were there in the height of summer, the waters smelt of sewerage, the gondoliers looked tired or bored, some gondolas were packed with people, so it didn't look very romantic to us, so with our street maps of Venice, we broke away from St.Marks Square, until we left the maddening crowd behind us, and found little laneways, churches, with hardly any people around, just heaven. As they say, "There is life outside of St.Marks Square".
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 01:40 PM
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tropo--ah, you missed a nice experience. You don't have to share your gondola with anyone, and on a hot day it can be quite pleasant to glide through smaller shaded canals.

In all our visits to Venice, the only time we ever experienced a bad smell from a canal is when we were walking near a canal that had been drained for cleaning.
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 01:59 PM
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I skipped going on a gondola ride my first time in Venice, succumbing to the "it's too touristy" notion. The second time in Venice, however, the allure was too strong to resist and I'd highly recommend it for anyone. Sure it's pricey but how many times in your life are you going to be in a gondola quietly gliding through canals in one of the most beautiful and romantic cities on Earth?

What compensated for us being shortchanged on time was the fact that, on the day we decided to hire a gondola, there was a general strike so the Grand Canal was blissfully free of churning vaporettos.

I also cannot recommend the traghettos enough. They're the older gondolas you take across the Grand Canal at about six different points. Very inexpensive and a lot of fun since it's traditional to stand up in them.
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 02:21 PM
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We just got back from Italy. Venice was our first stop. Being our honeymoon, we weren't leaving without our gondola ride. We ended up getting a 40 minute ride, mostly on the side canals, at sunset for 80E. The gondolier initially told us 120, but when we walked away, he came running after us and offered it to us for 100 and then for 80.
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 02:52 PM
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All I can add is this: You gotta do the gondola ride! Is the is first thing anyone will ask you when you return from Venice. Yep! Touristy, but a must.

Be sure your son is taking advantage of being in Europe in the Army. I was stationed in Germany in 1970-71. My wife and I traveled all over Europe and now go back frequently. We used that time to the fullest. He has the chance of a lifetime. Many troups in Europe never leave the base and then kick themselves later when they finally figure out what they missed.

Have a great trip!
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 03:10 PM
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To: Bob1
Thanks so much for the info. My son has been stationed in Vicenza, Italy for almost 2 years. But, he spent 1 year of that in Iraq. He returned from Iraq in February and has been to Florence and Venice. He will travel some with us while we're there also. We will do the gondola ride and shop around for the best prices. Grazie!
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 03:25 PM
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We just returned from 5 days in Venice. Gondola ride is a must; we found our gondola through the concierge at The Bauer (a 5 star hotel about a block off the back side of San Marco square on the Grand Canal). He drew a map of the route to guide the gondolier and negotiated a price of E80 for a full hour for 6 of us at sunset. A good price, and a good route, especially since we'd seen several "gondola caravans" (sometimes as many as 10 or 11 in a long line, bumper to bumper) making their way along certain routes.

BTW: If anyone knows where to purchase the gondola brass fittings (usually seahorses, but sometimes sea monsters) aside from the tourist shops, please post it. I've been looking for a good manufacturing source in Venice (preferably with an email and/or web address).

Have a great ride!

JasonW
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Old Jul 12th, 2004, 03:35 PM
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They're everywhere.

That's right: The Gondoliers are everywhere. If you're a couple, make sure you don't hold hands while you're walking through Venice or the gondoliers will be all over you with solicitations. (Maybe that's a good way to start negotiations -- have THEM come to YOU.)

I will give my broken-record suggestion: Go ahead and do the gondola ride. And then (especially if you've got 6-8 people), catch the #1 vaporetto (Grand Canal main route) around 11:30 PM and take it all the way out to the Lido and back. By the time it leaves San Marcos square, you might get lucky and find the stern seats empty. Grab them and drink in the majesty of Venice receding on the Adriatic. At any rate, you'll have the return boat all to yourself.

For $5 it's the best deal in Europe.
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