From Rowboats to Gondolas: Discovering Italy by Water

Reed Travel Features

NEW YORK -- Travelers in Italy who want to see the sights from the water have a number of options.

Private and government-owned boats and ferries are plentiful in such areas as the lake region, where travelers can visit tiny, barely inhabited islands.

Tourists visiting scenic Sirmione in Lake Garda, for example, can get around via local boat and bus service, while cars are not allowed in part of the ancient walled city.

Water taxis and gondolas are the way to go in Venice, where bemused visitors can make their way along the canals alongside Venice's version of floating milk and mail trucks.

In Florence, travelers can rent small rowboats on the Arno by the hour from May to September for a different perspective on that ancient city.
Italian Government Tourist Office
Phone: (212) 245-4961

Ferries are another mode of transportation, taking visitors to and from the islands.

Visitors can reach Sardinia and Sicily by ferry, for example, although both islands have airports, as well as the Aeloian Islands, which do not. Local ferries serving Sardinia and Sicily depart from Genoa and Naples, depending on the season.

Service from Naples to Palermo, Sicily, for example, operates daily year-round. In high season, the overnight trip is priced from about $41 per person in coach to $64 for a first class cabin with private bath. High season is from June 1 to Sept. 30 as well as during Easter and Christmas weeks. Low season, which runs Oct. 1 to May 31, is priced from about $32 to $48. Passengers can bring their cars on board; the price ranges from $44 to $87, depending on the size of the vehicle. Additional taxes and fees cost around $10 per person.

Service from Naples to Cagliari, Sardinia, runs weekly on Thursdays year-round, with an additional Saturday run from June to September. The trip costs from about $39 per person in coach to $74 in a first class cabin in high season; $28 to $52 in low season. Cars cost about $60 to $92, high season; $46 to $70, low season.
Tirrenia Navigazione
Phone: (011) 398-172-0111
Fax: (011) 398-172-0144

Ferry service from Naples to the Aeolian Islands operates twice a week Tuesdays and Fridays from Oct. 1 to March 31, with an additional Sunday crossing April 1 to May 31.

Service is daily except Wednesdays from June 1 to Sept. 30. The price ranges from about $36 to $56 per person, low season; $51 to $57, high season. The rates for a car range from about $76 to $116, low season; $91 to $131, high season.
Uffico Siremar
Phone: (011) 398-158-003-40
Fax: (011) 398-158-003-41

Hydrofoil service from Naples to the Aeolian Islands, available June 1 to Sept. 30 only, costs about $69 per person. The trip takes about five hours.
Phone: (011) 398-158-003-40
Fax: (011) 398-158-003-41

Daily hydrofoil service from Palermo, Sicily, to the Aeolian Islands, available June through September only, costs about $35 per person. From Messina, Sicily, to the Aeolians, daily service in summer costs about $19 per person. Daily service from Milazzo, situated 25 miles west of Messina, costs about $12 per passenger.
Phone: (011) 399-133-3333 or (011) 399-132-9990

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