Venice, An Expensive Gondola Ride

Venice Gondola

“The Venetian gondola is as free and graceful, in its gliding movement, as a serpent. It is twenty or thirty feet long and is narrow and deep like a canoe; its sharp bow and stern sweep upward from the water like the horns of a crescent…. The bow is ornamented with a battle axe attachment that threatens to cut passing boats in two.”                                                                                                 Mark Twain – ‘The Innocents Abroad’

In 2003 I visited Venice for the second time and  took a ride through the canals in a gondola.  At €80 for fifty minutes it was horrifically expensive of course but it was something that had to be done.  To be fair to the gondoliers, they invest a great deal in their boats, about €20,000 for a traditional hand-built wooden gondola with a life expectancy of about twenty years. They need to earn the bulk of their annual income in a few short tourist months and the cost of living is high in Venice because it is an expensive city in one of Italy’s wealthiest provinces.

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12 responses to “Venice, An Expensive Gondola Ride

  1. Great post, Andrew. After reading you I know I must take a gondola ride, even at that price.


  2. Ah, it takes me back. Great blog!


  3. Its interesting to know the differences between Venice and the “Venice of the North” (Brugge, Belgium). I look forward to going for a ride on one of these hand-built gondolas someday.


  4. I knew that riding in a gondola would set me back quite a few Euros but I didn’t realize that they were required to take a test and be proficient in the history of Venice. That’s pretty interesting.


  5. Good way of explaining the reason for the high costs, Andrew. I wondered why it costs so much when I was there but now that you’ve explained it, I wouldn’t mind paying it.
    I loved Venice. It is very charming and there was something kind of fun about seeing the water rising to the sidewalks during an evening stroll.


  6. Venice is one of my favourite cities in the world. I took a gondola ride many years ago (as one must!), but nowadays, I usally jump on the vaporetti (number 1, I think) from outside Harry´s Bar and go all the way to the terminus and back, for just a few euros. It´s always a great experience 🙂


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