Motoscafi (water taxis) are Venice’s limousines
The fastest, and most glamorous, way to get around Venice is by motoscafo (water taxi), especially the retro mahoghany-hulled ones. These boats are especially convenient when it rains, because you can sit inside their enclosed cabin.
Venice Water Taxi Rates
But they are expensive: there is a minimum set charge of around €15, and the trip will only be a maximum of seven minutes; after that meter charges go up in 15 second increments. A brief trip along the Grand Canal will cost around €70-80 and on top of the basic fare there are surcharges for more than five passengers, luggage and travelling by night. The stratospheric prices are partly explained by the high cost of the motorboats themselves (the flashier traditional mahogany launches cost more than €100,000).
Beware, especially in Tronchetto (the artificial car park island), of unlicensed taxi drivers or car park attendants who quote "special" fares: they’re not to be trusted (like touts the world over).
Where to Find Motoscafi
You can get a taxi at one of the water taxi ranks, or have the hotel call it for you. There are water taxi stands along the Canal Grande, at San Zaccaria near the ACTV landing station, at the airport, at the Fondamente Nuove, and at the main tourist spots. Often you’ll be able to pay for the taxi at the hotel. Italian taxi drivers do not expect a tip.
Water Taxis (24 hr telephone number: (041) 522 2303) can be ordered by telephone (that used to cost you a minimum of €5, but there’s no charge quoted on the website now). Official water taxis have a black registration number on a yellow background.
NB. You can’t go everywhere in a water-taxi; they can’t get into the the shallowest canals and if the tide is too high (most likely in November and December) the water-taxis can’t get under the lowest bridges. And if the tide is too low (most likely in winter) some canals may not be accessible.