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Tips For Your Arrival into Venice

Denise Marie of Venice Rentals

I am an ex-pat from Boston and have lived in Venice for over 12 years with my Venetian husband and I cannot tell you how many times a day I give out directions, instructions, tips, recommendations and much more advice. I hope the following can be of help for any of you coming to Venice in the near future. Venice is a tricky city and can be confusing. I have given my family members these directions when they visit me and so far, had no problems at all, and have been tested many times.

Arrival at Marco Polo Airport

Marco Polo Airport is the airport for Venice. It is on the mainland, outside of Venice. You have the following three options for transportation from the airport into Venice. When in doubt, always ask BEFORE boarding a boat.

1. The Alilaguna

Take the Alilaguna boat from the airport right into Venice. The cost is 13 euro per person and includes your luggage.

Next to taking a private water taxi, this is the best and most comfortable option for getting into Venice from the airport. The Alilaguna is a big yellow shuttle boat that takes people to and from the airport. It only makes a few stops in Venice; Murano, Lido, and two stops near San Marco.

Buy tickets inside the airport at the Alilaguna stand or on board if you are running late. Outside the Arrivals area, there is a short, 10 minute walk to the water edge and the docks where the boats depart from.

The Alilaguna boat leaves the airport as follows (select one according to the section of Venice you need to get to):

  • 45 of each hour goes to: Murano, Fond. Nuove, Lido, San Zaccaria, San Marco
  • 15 of each hour goes to: Murano, Lido, Arsenale, San Marco, Zattere
  • 55 of each hour goes to: Murano, Madonna dell'Orto, Guglie, Rialto, San Angelo

2. Venice Express Bus Service to Piazzale Roma then Vaporetti

Take the Venice Express bus from the airport to Piazzale Roma (runs every 20 minutes and costs 3 Euros per person). From there you take one of the many public vaporetti boats into Venice.

Your luggage goes in compartments on the bottom of the bus, so there is no need to lift up your bags (a problem with the public buses). Inside, everyone gets a comfy large seat. The trip takes approximately 25 - 30 minutes depending on traffic. I took this bus recently and was pleased with the service.

Piazzale Roma Ticket Office

Piazzale Roma Ticket Office

Piazzale Roma Bus Lot

Piazzale Roma Bus Lot

3. Live large and hire a Private Water Taxi from the airport

Great for large parties of 5 to 8 people splitting the costs. This way is fast and fun, but expensive (approximately 100-150 euro depending on the number of people and luggage for a 20/30 minute ride into most parts of the city). If you use this taxi service in the early morning hours or very late evening, you will pay approximately 10 euro more. Also, you will pay more for excessive luggage. There is a taxi desk at the arrivals where you can reserve a taxi. From there, you need to walk to the water taxi dock where your taxi will be waiting for you. Ask the price when you reserve it to avoid any surprise at the arrival as they do not have a taxi meter and they price the fare according to the length of the trip, number of people and number of luggage. NO need to tip them as most taxi drivers own their boat and license and are very wealthy.

NOTE: I have heard of some taxi drivers scamming people by taking on two parties and charging them both 80 Euros into S. Marco. Be aware, you should be splitting this cost if he puts others on board with you.

Arrival at the Treviso Airport (Ryanair)

The best and least expensive way into Venice from this airport is their bus shuttle service for 5 Euro per person. Take the Ryanair Shuttle from the Treviso airport to Piazzale Roma in Venice. From there, you can get a public vaporetti boat along the Grand Canal.

NOTE: Make sure to take the bus only to P. Roma. We have heard of people being swindled into getting off the bus at Tronchetto parking garage and then being pushed onto a private water taxi that only went to S. Marco. They got the entire busload of people to get onto this taxi for 10 Euro per person. You may find yourself in the wrong area of the city, having to buy yet another boat ticket to get to where you are going.

Arrival at the Train Station (Santa Lucia/Venice train stop)

When you get off at the train station, walk outside and down the enormous set of stairs to the boat landings. You will have a choice of taking the Line 1 or 2 boat to get to S. Marco. These boats both make several stops including Rialto, but the 2 is a much faster line.

If you plan to arrive by train and wish to consult the train schedule or purchase your tickets on the internet, go to: www.trenitalia.it. Italians like to go on strike and the trains are the first ones to do it. Make sure your date isn't planning a strike by checking their site.

Arrival By Car

If you have a rental car, ask your car rental company to allow you to drop off your car in the Piazzale Roma/Venice location, NOT the Airport location, as the commute into the city from the airport takes much longer and costs more (most car rental agencies offer both locations).

Coming into Venice by car to the parking area of Tronchetto

After you exit the highway, follow BLUE signs for VENEZIA until you get to a long 7 mile bridge (Ponte della Liberta). At the end of the bridge you will come to a light and a sign on your right and on the ground stating: Tronchetto, Ferry Boat to Lido, Grecia, Costa Cruiseline, etc.

Take this right and follow directions for Tronchetto Garage (large cement construction you will be able to see on your right when approaching the end of the bridge). Park your car in the Tronchetto garage (this is the least expensive garage in Venice).

From the Tronchetto Garage you have the following two options to come into the city:

  • Outside the Tronchetto parking garage, you will find the public boat stop. Take the LINE 82 public boat from outside the garage.
  • Hire a private water taxi from the Tronchetto garage. It is fast, but expensive (approximately 50/55 euro for a 20 minute ride).

Public Transportation Prices

NOTE: Punch your tickets when you board the Vaporetto. This validates the ticket to be used. A ticket not punched, is not a valid ticket for that ride.

Public transportation prices in Venice have become quite high. Here is the most recent price list, as of May 2008. If you want to relax and not think about punching your tickets, waiting in line for new ones, etc., buy one of the following boat passes.

Vaporetti - One Way Tickets

  • 6.50 euro each way per person for any line along the Grand Canal, valid for up 60 minutes (you may take more than one boat up to 60 minutes).

IMPORTANT: Large suitcases are subjected to charge (6.50 euro each if taller than 1,50 cm).

Vaporetti - Passes

  • 12 Hour pass costs 14.00 euro per person. With this pass you can take as many public boats you wish including boats that runs along the Grand Canal or to the outer Islands (Murano, Burano, Torcello, Lido).
  • 24 Hour pass costs 16.00 euro per person. With this pass you can take as many public boats you wish including boats that runs along the Grand Canal or to the outer Islands (Murano, Burano, Torcello, Lido).
  • 36 Hour pass costs 21.00 euro per person. With this pass you can take as many public boats you wish including boats that runs along the Grand Canal or to the outer Islands (Murano, Burano, Torcello, Lido).
  • 48 Hour pass costs 26.00 euro per person. With this pass you can take as many public boats you wish including boats that runs along the Grand Canal or to the outer Islands (Murano, Burano, Torcello, Lido).
  • 72 Hour pass costs 31.00 euro per person. With this pass you can take as many public boats you wish including boats that runs along the Grand Canal or to the outer Islands (Murano, Burano, Torcello, Lido).
  • For the 7 day pass see the VENICE CARD option below.

Stamp your Boat Ticket

Before boarding a boat, you must stamp your ticket in the little yellow box, found on both sides of the platform. If you forget, tell the guy that ties up the boat to stamp it for you. You will avoid a fine of 30 euro if you get checked by the controllers.

If you bought a boat pass, you only stamp it once, on the first journey.

Possible Scams that Visitors Should Watch For

These things don't happen very often, but there have been a few instances with our clients therefore we prefer to inform you "just in case".

Purchasing Tickets

Make sure you check your change after paying for your tickets or passes as some tellers at the public boat booth have been found giving wrong change to those who are not used to the euro (they pretend they made a mistake in giving you back your change which they will have ready immediately should you come back after realizing there is something missing). If that happens to you, please ask for the manager and report them immediately.

Transportation Controllers

You do not have to show your ticket on board unless a controller comes on board and asks you to show it. If, for some reason, you do not have your ticket and are asked to pay a fine (approximately 30 euro), make sure the controller (the person checking the ticket) gives you a receipt for the fine you pay (if you pay in cash). If he/she fails to give you a receipt, please report him/her immediately to a manager or take his/her name and file a complaint to the next boat stop booth.

Venice Card

The Venice card was designed to offer some other services in addition to a simple boat pass. These things are included when you purchase a Venice Card:

  • Unlimited use of the public transportation for the duration of the card.
  • Discounted rate for the Chorus Pass (5 euro instead of 8 euro and you can visit one time each the 15 churches of the Chorus Association of Churches).
  • A discounted ticket for the Venice Biennale.
  • A discounted rate for the Querini Stampalia Library in San Marco Square (4 euro instead of 6 Euro).
  • A free entrance to one of Lido private beaches.
  • A discounted ticket for the Jewish Museum.
  • Free one time entrance to the Venice Casino.
  • Free use of the public bathrooms.
  • Free or discounted ticket for the San Marco Square Museum, Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Ca' Rezzonico, Museo Mocenigo, Museo del Vetro.

If you plan to buy a boat pass and your stay is 7 days or longer, the Venice Card is your only option. If you stay less than one week and are debating if purchasing a boat pass or a Venice Card, keep in mind that all discounts that the Venice Card claims to offer you are modest, the discounts in shops and restaurants are rare and very minimal and you need to tell the restaurant or shop owner that you have the card before they give you the bill; therefore, they may raise a price to slash a discount off.

If you fly in and out of Venice and wish to use the Alilaguna public boat to commute to and from Venice when you arrive and depart, you can purchase a Venice Card that includes the Alilaguna Boat, as well (this might be a good value/cost).

Venice Card - Transport card (includes public toilets)

(unlimited public transportation with or without the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport plus free access to public bathrooms)

  • 3 day junior card under 29 years old, 32.50 Euro
  • 3 day senior card over 29 years old, 33.50 euro
  • 3 day junior card with the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport included under 29 years old, 52.50 euro
  • 3 day senior card with the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport included over 29 years old, 55.50 Euro
  • 7 day junior card under 29 years old, 45.50 euro
  • 7 day senior card over 29 years old, 47.50 euro
  • 7 day junior card with the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport included under 29 years old, 67.90 euro
  • 7 day senior card with the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport included over 29 years old, 69.90 euro

Venice Card - Transport & Culture Card without public toilets included

(unlimited public transportation with or without the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport plus free access to public bathrooms and free or discounted price to some museums)

  • 3 day junior card under 29 years old, 40.90 euro
  • 3 day senior card over 29 years old, 46.90 euro
  • 3 day junior card with the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport included under 29 years old, 62.90 euro
  • 3 day senior card with the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport included over 29 years old, 68.90 euro
  • 7 day junior card under 29 years old, 54.90 euro
  • 7 day senior card over 29 years old, 62.90 euro
  • 7 day junior card with the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport included under 29 years old, 76.90 euro
  • 7 day senior card with the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport included over 29 years old, 84.90 euro

Venice Card - Transport & Culture Card with public toilets included

(unlimited public transportation with or without the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport plus free access to public bathrooms and free or discounted price to some museums)

  • 3 day junior card under 29 years old, 43.90 euro
  • 3 day senior card over 29 years old, 49.90 euro
  • 3 day junior card with the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport included under 29 years old, 65.90 euro
  • 3 day senior card with the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport included over 29 years old, 71.90 euro
  • 7 day junior card under 29 years old, 60.90 euro
  • 7 day senior card over 29 years old, 68.90 euro
  • 7 day junior card with the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport included under 29 years old, 82.90 euro
  • 7 day senior card with the Alilaguna boat from and to the airport included over 29 years old, 108.00 euro

IMPORTANT: You can reserve your Venice Card online (a discount is offered if you purchase online) and pick it up with the confirmation number they give you at the airport (Alilaguna booth) at Piazzale Roma or at the train station upon arriving. You may also purchase your card without reserving it (they want people to reserve it in advance to monitor the number of tourists coming into Venice) when you arrive at any of those locations before 8pm.

To reserve your Venice Card on-line: www.venicecard.it

Do I Want a Boat Pass or a Venice Card?

Here are some important considerations to help you decide if you should purchase a boat pass (Venice Card pass or regular 1 or 3 day boat pass):

  • Keep in mind that Venice is a small city and you can walk just about everywhere and visit all the main attractions.
  • If you still wish to purchase a boat pass for the time you visit the city, we suggest purchasing your pass immediately at the first boat stop if you plan to use the public transportation upon arrival. This way you will save money and use your boat pass immediately instead of purchasing an expensive one way ticket.
  • If you do not wish to purchase a pass for all the days you will be here, but wish to do some excursions to the outer Islands (Murano, Burano, Torcello or Lido), you might concentrate your excursions in one or three days and purchase a 24 or 72 hour pass.
  • If you do not wish to purchase a boat pass and your group is 4 or more, keep in mind that the cost of a private water taxi is similar to the cost of public transportation. A private water taxi is a much faster and more comfortable way to get to your hotel/vacation rental, especially after a long flight.

Walking and Arriving at Your Home in Venice

In this unique city on water, public transportation cannot drop you off at your front door. From the nearest boat stop, you will almost always have a 10 minute walk with your luggage and often some stairs or bridges to climb. Therefore, the best thing I can tell you, after seeing so many tourists struggle and sweat dragging heavy bags, is to pack lightly or check un-needed baggage at the train station (4 euro per bag).

Porters are rarely found and are very expensive. They are located only at the Vallaresso or Alilaguna S. Marco stop but quite often are not available, so they cannot be counted on.


I hope this information was very helpful to you in making your arrival and trip to Venice a safe and extremely pleasurable one.

Resources

www.actv.it: ACTV Venice Public Transportation.


Denise Marie runs Venice Rentals, vacation rentals in Venice, Italy. www.venicerentals.com
Tel 617-472-5392
Photos courtesy of Colleen Alley.

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