Friday, February 24, 2012

How to Save Money in Venice, Italy

If you're going to be visiting Venice, you'll quickly notice that it's a very expensive city, even by European standards. However, there are some tips and tricks you can learn in order to save money in Venice.
One of the best ways to keep your Venice travel costs down is to make use of public transportation rather than private water taxi rides. The Venetian form of public transit is called a vaporetto, or water bus.

It's important to understand the difference between water bus (vaporetto) and water taxi. The water bus is inexpensive public transportation costing just a couple of euros a ride; whereas the water taxi is an expensive private-hire form of transportation. It typically costs 100 euros or more to hire a water taxi.

You can save even more money on the vaporetto by purchasing a multiday pass. It's a great deal that many tourists aren't aware of or aren't confident enough to use. Buying a pass allows you to get on and off whenever and wherever you want, without having to purchase another ticket. That saves you money and time, and also offers you a lot of freedom.

Here's another money saving tip for Venice. If you want to experience riding in a traditional Venetian gondola, but you don't want to pay the 100+ euros that a private gondola ride costs, try a traghetto ride. A traghetto is a public transport gondola that takes you in a straight line from one side of the Grand Canal to the other side.

Taking a traghetto will save having to spend much of your walking time looking for bridges to cross the canal, and it's also a great way to participate in an authentic Venetian experience with the locals. A traghetto ride will cost you less than a dollar, which you hand to an oarsman as you get on. It's the best transportation bargain (and the cheapest gondola ride) in Venice.

What are traghetti? They are old gondolas stripped of their fancy decoration. They are rowed by two oarsmen: one who stands in the back like a traditional gondolier, the other closer to the bow. Passengers generally stand for the short trip, although you can sit down as well.

Be sure to get your terminology correct: don't confuse traghetto with vaporetto. A vaporetto is a motorized water bus that runs the length of the Grand Canal. In contrast, a traghetto (or traghetti, plural) is a gondola that is rowed by oarsmen and crosses the Grand Canal from side to side.

There are various traghetti operating at seven convenient spots on the Grand Canal. Just look for the striped pole that marks the spots. Oh, and be aware that most of the traghetti only operate until about lunchtime each day.

So there you have it: save money in Venice by using the water bus instead of the water taxi, and take a traghetto ride instead of a private gondola ride.

If you want to learn all about great places to visit in Italy, then check out Barbra Sundquist's site on how to plan the best Italian holidays. Barbra is an Italy fanatic and travels there every year to research and update information for her Italy travel blog.

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Tags: save money water taxi grand canal visiting venice water taxi rides traghetto ride private water


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