Gondola ferry: a quick way to cross the Grand Canal in Venice


Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Laura Teso

I was in Venice the other day and I was on a hurry, so I tried a gondola ferry service.

Who among you follows me on Instagram and Facebook has probably already seen this. I was at the Rialto Market to see the beautiful and meaningful installation by Lorenzo Quinn, called Support. It consists of two white giant hands supporting the facade of a Venetian Palazzo. The artist’s purpose is to show how Venice needs support, because of its decadence and of the climate change menace.

Approaching to Support by Lorenzo Quinn
Approaching to Support by Lorenzo Quinn

After that, I had to reach a certain palazzo within 40 minutes. And I realized that it would have taken ages by foot. Crossing the canal I could spare 10 minutes. So, as I spotted the Gondole sign, I had a memory of me as a kid, while crossing the canal with my mother for just a coin. And so it is also nowadays. And it’s quite convenient.

The gondola ferry point
The gondola ferry point

As you know, there are only four bridges along the Grand Canal (if you want to learn more, read my post about Venice glossary). In fact there are several points along the Canal Grande where there’s no way to cross, and you’re forced to walk all the way around to reach the other side. And, if it’s a high season period… best wishes! I normally walk and walk, but I think I will use this system again in the future. It spares time and it’s also fun. Even if the gondoliere mocked me (kindly), because I was a little clumsy while boarding. 😀

Without in any way playing down the real gondola ride experience, the gondola ferry can be a way to have a short thrill for only €2 (have no idea if the price is still that). Of course, the classic gondola ride is made with an embellished gondola and it has a totally different atmosphere than the gondola ferry. I hope one day I’ll have the chance to do that. But for now I’ll settle for this crossing gondola ride.

Along the Canal Grande you can find six gondola ferry crossing points (called stazi). Each has its own timetable. Sorry, but I prefer not to insert the timetable I found on the official website of Venezia Unica ’cause I find it wrong myself. In fact, the gondola service I used was supposed to be open only during the morning. Instead, I took the gondola at 5pm. So, I don’t trust those info to be correct. I also tried to ask them, but they just told me “see on the linked page” (where the timetable was wrong). Anyway, I give you the list of the spots. And I hope you’ll find it useful.

Mi raccomando, do not abuse of these points! They are very useful for Venice citizens to move during their every day life. It would be wrong to create a huge queue just for a 2 minutes ride thrill, forcing elderly people to wait a long time. Try to go on low affluence times or just when you really need to cross the Grand Canal, like I did. Not as an attraction.

Below my gondola ferry ride

Gondola ferry points

Santa Sofia to go from Rialto Market to Campo Santa Sofia (Cannaregio). And it was the one I took.

Riva del Carbon connecting San Marco, close to the Contarini del Bovolo staircase, to San Polo, at the Riva del Vin (Wine).

San Tomà. It connects the Frari and Ca’ Foscari area to the San Marco district (Campo Sant’Angelo and Campo S. Stefano).

San Samuele connecting Palazzo Grassi to Ca’ Rezzonico.

Santa Maria del Giglio, connecting the area of the Gritti Palace to the Salute area, near the Guggenheim museum.

Dogana connecting Punta della Dogana to San Marco sestiere, next to the small garden of San Marco.

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