The gondola is surely the most classical way to get transported through Venices canales. It is the traditional rowing boat of Venice and is without doubt the most famous symbol of the city…known by everyone from Japan to South America.
Gondolas are hand made using several different kinds of wood and they are composed of 280 different pieces. They are about 11 meters-long. The left side of the gondola is made longer than the right side. This asymmetry causes the gondola to resist the tendency to turn toward the left at the forward stroke. It's the only big boat in the world which can be steered with agility by just one person (called "Gondoliere").
You need to talk to the gondolier to arrange your gondola ride. Indicative fares are around € 80,00 per 50 minutes (price per gondola) until 8.00 p.m. and € 100,00 per 50 minutes from 8.00 p.m to 8 a.m., but you can negotiate... so why don't try to talk down the price? Remember that you can ask to have a singer during the ride, but this will cost more.
Here below a resume of general fares (indicative prices per gondola).
Daytime gondola ride:
50 minutes, six persons maximum per gondola: EURO 80,00
For every 25 minutes exceeding the first 50: EURO 40,00
Night time gondola ride:
(from h.8,00 p.m. to 8,00 a.m.):
50 minutes, six persons maximum per gondola: EURO 100,00
For every 25 minutes exceeding the first 50: EURO 50,00
If you want you can get on a gondola also by using it as a ferry-boat in order to reach the opposite side of the Canal Grande at one of the half-dozen ferry points between the railroad station and the Campo del Traghetto near St. Mark's Square. The price is about one Euro.
Try it! It's an experience everyone should take.