The Gondola is the symbol of the city of Venice, Italy. It is by far one of the most romantic ways to spend your time in that city. Many newlyweds have started a great life together by using this form of transport to get closer to each other. However as with most things in life their can be some perils to choosing to ride this type of boat. Hopefully some of my tips should help save some money and hassles as well.
The first tip I would have is to choose your Gondola station carefully. This really can determine the ease of negotiation on the price for the ride. Also if you want to see some sight up close then choose a station that is near what you want to see.
Make sure you explain to the gondolier exactly where you want to go on this ride. Since you are the one paying the money it is only fair that you get to see what you want to see. Also with this in mind make sure you tell the gondolier how much time you are willing to spend in the boat. I have heard stories of gondoliers taking hours with tourists and some only taking as little as 15 minutes.
If you want your gondolier to sing while cruising along the canals then you should state this right at the beginning. Do not leave it up to him to decide as your price will vary drastically depending upon if there is singing involved.
The point here is to make sure ahead of time that you will be getting what you pay for. Always make sure that you stand up for what you think is a fair price. Do not be taken for too much and always try to be the savvy traveler. Not only will this save you some money but can earn you the respect of the gondolier as you will have done your homework already.
Most gondoliers are fair and trustworthy people however there is a regulating body that oversees this activity in Venice. If there is a problem then I would be sure to contact them and report your complaints. Most of the time your complaints will be taken seriously and the gondolier could face serious action if some remedy is not made.
Being prepared is key to having the best gondola ride you can while in Venice, Italy. The more you know about the people you are dealing with the less likely you are going to be cheated.