5 Ways to ‘Get on a Gondola’

Further to my last post ‘Wonderful Wanders in Venice’, I thought I would share with you something I wish I had been told before I visited the city on the water.

A gondola ride is something you must do once in your life, and ideally whilst you’re in Venice. However when you have to board from the front and make your way to the seats at the back in one of the most shallow boats that exists, you can’t help but wonder whether whoever invented the gondola had only thing on their mind…..how can we best make tourists look stupid centuries from now?

So here is your definitive guide (from experience) to gondola boarding techniques.


The Grab

Step in on the front as directed and inch your way to the seats at the back by grabbing hold of everything in sight. I’m talking the sides, the floor, the oar, the gondolier’s legs…….you get the picture.

The Tuck and Roll

Before you board, ignore the gondolier and head to the back of the boat where the seats are. Lay down on whatever surface the gondola is moored against and roll kamikaze style in its general direction. Silently congratulate yourself if you land in the boat and cheer loudly if you land in the actual seat. Otherwise….swim like hell.

The Run

Self explanitary and only for the very brave. Get into the front and sprint down the gondola towards the seats before you even have a chance to lose your balance and fall over.

The Sit and Slide

Sit on the floor of the gondola as soon as you board, and slide on your bum until you reach the seats at the back.

The NoisE Approach

Get into the gondala and get to that seat any way you can. The one golden rule? Make as much noise as possible – screaming, squealing, giggling, whooping – it all seems to help. Warning – this method will attract attention!

There is of course that rare breed of people who step gracefully onto the gondola and glide confidently to the seats at the back pausing only to take a seflie before gently sitting down……I didn’t see this happen once.


And finally………there will be times where you may find it necessary to use the ‘Traghetto’, a slightly larger, plainer version of a gondola used as a ‘taxi’ to ferry people from one side of the Grand Canal to the other. The journey only takes a couple of minutes, however they squeeze as many people as possible on and it is customary to stand throughout the crossing.

The Traghetto Technique

Plant your a feet firmly, wrap your arms tightly round the sturdiest looking local person you can find, close your eyes…….and pray.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *