This form of transportation is perfectly normal if you live in Venice, Italy. The traghetto is a boat that is very similar to a gondola. One of the differences between the two boats is that the traghetti (plural for traghetto) ferry passengers only between certain locations.
The word traghetto means “ferry” in Italian. Traghetti are only used on Venice's Grand Canal. These passenger boats move across the canal between seven different places. Traghetti were once used as gondolas, but they've had their fancy chairs removed along with any other luxury trimmings.
Most people stand while riding the traghetto. The boats are rowed by two oarsmen. One of the oarsmen stands behind the passengers and the other stands closer to the bow (front). Their routes are short and quick, going directly across The Grand Canal. This is a convenient form of transportation because there are only three bridges going across The Grand Canal. They are also an inexpensive form of transportation in Venice.
One other interesting fact is that most traghetti have been run by the same families for many generations. However, their are fewer routes today than there once were. Back in the 1950s there were about 30 different ferry routes. Today there are only seven.
Do not try to board a traghetto with a wheelchair, luggage, or something else heavy or bulky. In 2004, a ride costs 40 euro cents. These boats normally run from early in the morning until about 8:00 p.m. at night.
Imboden, Durant. "Tragetto." Durant Imboden's Venice for Visitors. 8 March 2005 <http://europeforvisitors.com/venice/articles/traghetto.htm>.
Petersen, Pete. Personal interview. October 2004.
Permission to use copyrighted photograph of tragetto from Durant Imboden's Europe for Visitors : Imboden, Durant. <firstname.lastname@example.org> "Re: Permission to use picture." 6 March 2005. Personal e-mail.