The first and only bridge to cross the Grand Canal was till the 19th century the Rialto bridge. But how where Venetians crossing the Grand Canal before the construction of the (today) four bridges as not every citizen was rich enough to have his own boat …?
Actually, there were once a lot of traghetti (kind of a shared gondola cab) alongside the Grand Canal and the smaller side canals that permitted the citizens to get from one shore to the over: The gondoliere was paid with a special pierced coin. (The early version of a token?)
Today, you find these traghetti only at certain points of the Grand Canal where citizens (€0,70 with the Imob card) and visitors (€2) of Venice use them to cross the waterway. (You find the tariffs at the traghetto stop too.)
Today you’ll find the main traghetti:
- San Marcuola <–> Salizada del Fontego
- Santa Sofia <–> Mercato di Rialto
- Riva del Carbon <–> Riva del Vin
- San Tomà <–> calle del traghetto (Santo Stefano)
- San Samuele <–> calle del traghetto (campo San Barnaba)
- Santa Maria del Giglio <–> calle Lanza (Salute)
I recommend you to prepare the exact amount of money for the traghetto as you pay the gondoliere when boarding. Also keep in mind that every traghetto stop has different opening hours!