Venice is my favorite place in Italy, and I had the unforgettable experience of gliding through the canals on the city’s most famous form of transport
Price: Prices start at 40 minute rides for 80 euros, with increases per time amount added, but 40 minutes is all you’ll need.
If you ever holiday in Italy, and you don’t stop in Venice, you’re making a big, big mistake. It’s one of the most unforgettably beautiful cities in the world.
For the most part, besides food and lodging, there’s no need to spend any money or make any big plans while exploring Venice. Roaming the streets offers entertainment enough. You can aimlessly wander the roads, cross beautiful bridges, listen to street musicians and stroll through markets. Read about my entire experience with Venice here.
The one experience you should absolutely take, though, is a gondola ride through the canals.
This is something that doesn’t explicitly need to be planned. Gondoliers are essentially the Venetian version of a taxi driver, and you can flag them down or approach them any time you want.
It was our last night in Venice, and we had just eaten another fantastic meal on the waterside. From there, we simply asked a docked gondolier if he had time to spare for us. He required a little set up time, but was happy for our business.
After spending so much time taking pictures of other gondolas and their passengers on the scenic waters, it was a bit funny to be the object of other people’s vacation photography.
Our gondolier was thick accented and hard to understand at most times, but he nonetheless spewed out a nonstop narrative on the city.
He pointed out landmarks and famous streets, and tried as best he could to answer our questions.
Each gondola was uniquely intricate. Ours was black with gold detail, and had golden Hippocampi sticking up on either side. My mom and I got into a discussion on which Hippocampus was named first, the mythical creature or the portion of the brain.
We passed by other families and couples taking gondola rides, and we smiled at each other with a fervent excitement. Each shared glance seemed to be saying, “This is unbelievable! Is this really happening?”
We passed by restaurant balconies and listened to pieces of music being played on streets and from other gondolas. Unless you really really wanted to, there is no reason to feel the need to hire a gondola with an on-board musician. The streets offer musical entertainment enough, in my opinion.
The entire experience was unforgettable. And to this day, it’s one of my all time favorite bucket list successes.