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Traghetto

Looking for a cheap (if quick) gondola ride? Take a traghetto across the Grand Canal.

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ABOVE: A traghetto ferries passengers across the Grand Canal. INSET BELOW: A Venetian mother and her daughter (wearing inline skates) wait to board.



Until 1854, the 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:

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ABOVE: A traghetto ferries passengers across the Grand Canal. INSET BELOW: A Venetian mother and her daughter (wearing inline skates) wait to board.

traghetto pierTraghetto (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 officially seven, although you'll be lucky if you find one or two operating at any given time:

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.

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ABOVE: A sign at a traghetto pier shows the two-tired pricing scheme that went into effect in 2013.

How to ride a traghetto

Other practical advice

Related articles

Venice Travel Blog: Traghetto S. Sofia
This 4-minute video from our Venice Travel Blog shows how to board, ride, and disemark from a gondola ferry on the Grand Canal.

Venice Transportation Articles Index
Get in-depth information on Venice airport boats and buses, how to use public transportation, gondolas, and more.


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