Looking for a cheap (if quick) gondola ride? Take a
traghetto across the Grand Canal.
Ponte di Rialto was the only bridge across the
Grand Canal in Venice. Even now, there are only four bridges along the canal's
2.5-mile (3.5 km) length. If you need to cross the canal and you aren't near a
bridge, you have two choices:
Take the No. 1
vaporetto, which zig-zags from one bank
to the other as it follows the Grand Canal, or better yet:
Head for the nearest
traghetto pier and get rowed to the other side. As a tourist,
you'll be expected to pay €2,-- (nearly three times the resident rate of 70
cents), but there is an unofficial workaround that sometimes works: See our
money-saving tip on page 2 of
ABOVE: A traghetto ferries passengers across the
Grand Canal. INSET BELOW: A Venetian mother and her daughter (wearing inline
skates) wait to board.
(plural: traghetti) means "ferry" in Italian. On Venice's Grand Canal,
traghetti are the passenger boats that cross the canal at seven points between
the railroad station and
St. Mark's Basin. The boats are
large gondolas without bow decoration, brocaded chairs, and other luxury
trimmings. They are rowed by two oarsmen: one who stands behind the passengers
like a traditional gondolier, the other closer to the bow.
Most traghetti have been operated by the same
families for generations. As recently as the 1950s, there were some 30 of these
gondola ferry routes. Today, there are seven:
Fondamente S. Lucia (in front of the railroad station) -
Fondamenta San Simeón Piccolo
San Marcuola - Fóndaco dei Turchi (by the Natural History
Santa Sofia (near Ca' D'Oro) - Pescaria (fish market)
Riva del Carbòn - Fondamente del Vin
Sant' Angelo - San Tomà
San Samuele - Ca' Rezzónico
Campo del Traghetto - Calle Lanza (near the Salute Church)
The routes are clearly marked on any good street
map of Venice (look for straight lines across the Grand Canal), and you'll often
see yellow signs pointing toward the traghetto landings when you're walking
through neighborhoods along the Grand Canal.
How to ride a traghetto
Updated August, 2013
The premier travel-planning site
for Venice, Italy since 1997
Too many bridges, too little
1 Venice Hotel Warning,
then choose from hotels in all price ranges near airport buses, taxis, trains, cruise piers, and airport-boat stops.
Venice cruise guide:
Venice for Cruisers
How to reach your ship,
hotels near the piers, roundtrip cruises from Venice, cruise
reviews, and more.
120+ photo maps:
Zoom in on Venice's
neighborhoods, islands, airport, cruise piers, etc. from above, with
detailed descriptions of what you're seeing.
More about Italy: