A friend of mine arrived in Venice at the end of her 12-day cruise around Italy. (“Just so you know, Nan, twelve days is too long.”) During her stay here (her companions flew home direct from the cruise, not unusual), she recounted a visit to the Piazza the night before she disembarked, including the price of the gondola ride her group decided to enjoy. “You paid what?!”
Now, you must know that this is my standard response whenever Nancy tells me about most any purchase she has made. She is the spendthrift, I the cheapskate (or just more sane in my expenditures, according to me), so we have both come to expect this semi-regular reaction. I have to say it, she has to ignore me completely.
But in this case, it was warranted. I live here. I know that up to six people can ride in a gondola for 40 minutes for €80, with €40 for each additional twenty minutes; and that there is a surcharge after 7 pm, so price is then €100 for 40 minutes and €50 for every twenty thereafter.
What did my friend pay? Evidently, the cruise company offered a transfer from the ship to the Piazza after dinner for a pittance, €5 per person or so. Sounds lovely, let’s go. The thoroughly enjoyable gondola ride that the five in her group decided to take, even with an extra 20 minutes, should have cost them, oh, €100 to €150 total. Instead, “They paid what?!”
€50 per person, or €250. They were told (by whom I am not sure), that this was a discount: that normally they would have paid €100 per person. Nancy said that the gondolier sang them his favorite song, did I know what it was? “‘We’re In the Money’,” I guessed?
Now, I like the gondola (I row, for heaven’s sake), know there are some great gondoliers, and have my own favorites. If a gondola ride appeals to you, by all means take one. But no matter what you decide to pay for it, it’s best to first know the going-gondola-rate, and to understand it’s per gondola…not per person.
Current Gondola Fares