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Venice Traghetto (2020)

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


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:

 Traghetto (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.

A traghetto, also called a gondola parada, carries up to 10 passengers (compared to five for a privately-hired gondola da nolo). The boats eschew 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 two most reliable are:

Pescaria (Rialto fish market) - Santa Sofia (near Ca' d'Oro):

Traghetto map - Pescaria to Santa Sofia

San Tomà - Sant'Angelo:

Traghetto Map - San Toma to Sant'Angelo

Other official routes include:

(Please note that these additional routes operate sporadically--if at all--and you shouldn't waste much time looking for them when the Pescaria - Santa Sofia and San Tomà - Sant' Angelo traghetti are much more reliable.)


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

How to ride a traghetto

Other practical advice

MAP CREDITS: Walking maps by Anders Imboden, using base data from the Comune di Venezia and Regione Veneto under license IODL-2.0.
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