Bellisima Venice! which means beautiful will be an understatement for this floating city retaining its glory through Venetian Gothic architecture, winding canals and beautiful bridges, carnival celebrations, eccentric alleys with their old charm, and the charismatic gondolas creating the unmatched dreamy and romantic vibes unlike no other. The city can leave you overwhelmed with endless possibilities and unparalleled vibes but the most striking image of Venice is often associated with gondolas.


To Start, What exactly is a Gondola?

Often the picturesque Venice is portrayed through gondolas wading through the Grand canal and small waterways of Venice. This symbolic icon of Venice is nothing but a traditional Venetian wooden rowing boat with a high prow and stern used on the canals of Venice. They are 11 meters long and weigh 600 kgs and most importantly, they are hand-built in special workshops called "Squeri". Made from 280 handmade pieces with eight different kinds of wood, their asymmetry, the fórcola (padlock), and the fèrro (ornament at front of gondola) make it quite unique and enchanting. Representing craftsmanship, culture, traditions, excellence, gondolas turned the epitome of Venice.

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History of Gondolas

As we all know, the magical city of Venice is situated on a series of islands at the edge of the Adriatic sea.  Waterways have been the most prominent mode of transportation. Gondolas have marked their prominence since ancient times followed by vaporetti (water buses). The traces of Gondola can be found in Italian paintings by Carpaccio and Bellini from 1490. The ornamentation over Gondola seen today can be traced back to the Baroque period. By the end of 1800, the element of asymmetry was brought to the gondola design.

Who builds the Gondola and how is it built?

The Venice remer is the craftsman who creates the moving parts of a Venetian rowing boat. The oars have to be made in different sizes and require a lot of craft to combine with rowing. The squero in Venice is a shipyard for gondolas.

How much does a Gondola ride cost?

Gondola rates are 80 euros for a daytime ride and 100 euros for rides after 7 pm. The ride usually lasts for about 40 minutes. If one wishes to exceed, 40 euros are charged extra for another 20 minutes and 50 euros if the time exceeds 7 pm. The capacity of a gondola is a maximum of 6 people.

The pros of booking a ride before sunset make it cost-efficient while booking it after gives a mesmerizing view with all the twinkling lights.

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What Does a Gondola Ride Feel like?

As Venice stands on wooden logs and floats over water, gondolas have been a means of conveyance and now gaining their prominence as a tourist attraction. Akin to a luxurious car, gondolas have officially been black in color although now are more ornately decorated and fancy in nature. The person who rides it is called a gondolier and they wear black pants, a striped t-shirt, close-toed shoes, and sometimes a straw hat. They row the boat by the oar through the canals of Venice and sometimes, also sing but it's not always expected. This image of singing gondoliers has often been portrayed in movies although this may require tourists to shell extra money. They speak either English, French, or German mostly.

The gondolas pass through many canals and bridges and bring the individuals remotely close to the ancient buildings and heritage of Venice. The unique factor about Venice is that it is man-made and the entire city is on wooden logs floating on the water. As the logs are from alder wood which is water-resistant to decay, the logs have grown much stronger instead.

Where to find a Gondola ride?

Instead of taking a ride at the crowded Grand Canal and St. Mark's square, it is advisable to take a ride on the quiet back canals. Also, San Polo, Campo San Barnaba, and Jewish Ghettos are equally crowded. The place where gondolas start their ride is called stazi.

A Venice sestiere map and information can allow one to explore the neighborhood. Gondolas give a unique perspective over exploring the city otherwise.

The pros of the Gondola ride are having a closer and unmatched view of the city while the cons are the ride can be super expensive from the crowded tourist spots and overall. Nevertheless, one can always share the expense with other people albeit at the cost of their privacy.

How to find a cheaper Gondola ride in Venice?

One can try the traghetto gondola service, a gondola ferry service used to get from one side of the canal to the other. It costs around 2.5 euros solely and can find this service at the following locations: Dogana, Santa Maria Del Giglio, San Tomà, Riva Del Vin, Riva Del Carbon, and Santa Sofia. The pros of this service are that it's budget-friendly, although the cons are it can't be matched with the experience of a normal Gondola ride.

So, Is A Gondola ride really worth it?

Well, Venice is the only place on earth to experience the enchanting view of the city with a gondola ride. Although, one should book a ride in the morning where it isn't quite busy on canals or evening if the budget factor isn't in consideration. It is one of the bucket list experiences where one can marvel at the charm of the ancient city melded with romance and escape to Lalaland for a while.

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