Things to know about taking a gondola ride in venice
If you take a gondola in Venice:
Negotiate the price in advance. The city rate starts at 80 euros for 40 minutes (and that climbs up to 100 euros for 40 minutes after 7pm), but lots of gondoliers charge more. Make sure you agree on the exact price, and on the number of minutes, before you climb aboard.
Be careful with a concierge. If you shy away from haggling, your hotel concierge can act as the middleman and do the negotiating for you. That’s nice—but it often comes with a big surcharge.
Know you can have 6 people in total. If you’re traveling with friends, it’s a great way to split the cost.
Remember that it’s expensive for a reason. Are gondoliers taking advantage of tourists? Maybe. But might they have reason? Yes. Venice is a pretty pricey city to live in, and the gondola itself is a big expense, setting a gondolier back some 20,000 euros for a hand-built version.
Carefully pick where you get your gondola. Not all gondolas have the same routes, but you can influence the kind of experience you’ll have depending on where you pick up a gondola. Grab one at the Rialto Bridge, and you’re headed for a trip down the iconic, bustling Grand Canal. Walk down to a side canal, where the water taxis and vaporetti don’t have stands, and you’ll have a more tranquil trip off the beaten path.
Get a receipt and there is no need to tip. One of the best ways to ensure you are getting a fair cost is to ask for a receipt (scontrino), for every money transaction in Italy, you much have a valid receipt. Those not giving receipts are doing business 'under the table' or in nero, and if you are stopped by a policemen and asked for your receipt and do not have, you get the ticket. Secondly, there is no place for tips on an individual Italian tax sheet and Italian's do not tip. In Venice and some bigger tourist cities you will find many service providers sticking their hands out, it is only because they have come to expect Americans to tip. A tip should be something you want to give to show your appreciation for a great job.
Be aware that you’ve got alternatives. If you simply can’t stomach the price, consider taking a traghetto, which crosses the Grand Canal. The price? Three euros.