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What Not to Do in Venice

by Lee Marshall

Don't…
Pay $100 for a gondola ride

Once upon a time, the gondola was Venice's main form of waterborne transport. These days, it's a pricey tourist experience controlled by a powerful gondoliers' lobby. By day, it'll cost you a minimum of $115 (for up to six people) for a 40-minute glide along the city's canals. Expect to pay more if you take the tour after 7 pm or opt for musical accompaniment from a corpulent crooner—featuring Neapolitan classics like "O sole mio", which have little to do with Venice. If you turn a blind eye to the rats that a canal-level view brings into focus and remember to bring a fragrant nosegay to counter the often pungent odor of the muddy waterways, the classic Venetian excursion can still be a gloriously romantic jaunt—at least until your bored gondolier starts talking on his mobile phone.

Instead…
Get around for under a dollar

Ride in a gondola for around 70 cents by taking one of the ferries, known as traghetto (pictured), that cross the Grand Canal at strategic points lacking easy access to a bridge. Sans velvet cushions, and larger than standard gondolas, the vessels are steered by two gondoliers for a faster journey. Forget about stretching out and enjoying the ride, though—Venetians do the one-minute crossing standing up, and so should you. Key routes include the Pescheria (Rialto fish market) to Santa Sofia, and Punta della Dogana to San Marco–Calle Vallaresso, outside Harry's Bar.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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