Venice Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Italy > Venice > History

The best way to reach Venice is to take the train. There are few parking spaces in Piazzale Roma, and these are normally costly and almost always occupied. If you decide to go to drive to Tronchetto, you'll find that the situation there is not much better. It makes sense to leave your car in Mestre in a supervised carpark and to take a train into the centre of Venice.

Remember that when you reach Venice, you will walk a lot! This is not because the city is big, but because the numerous bridges have numerous stairs to climb and descend, be warned: wear comfortable shoes and expect to be worn out by a day exploring the city.

A few words about the layout of the city: Venice is divided into six zones, and the addresses have consecutive numbers eg. Cannaregio 1, 2 etc. As well as having a 'popolare' address, each building has an official address eg Cannaregio XXXX, Calle delle Vele. The popular address and the official address are always written together. The tricky thing is that each of the zones has the same street name So postmen have a very difficult (and highly respected) job, because the official address (eg Calle delle Vele) is never enough to make sure the post goes to the right place.

The six zones or sestiere are, as follows: San Marco, San Polo, Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, Castello and Santa Croce. Although there are six zones, it is possible to cross the city on foot in under an hour. The zones do not really have strict divisions, however, Dursoduro contains students and the city's university; Cannaregio is the area in which you can find the historic ghetto; San Marco has the basilica and the piazza, which is probably one of the world's most famous squares. San Polo is a down-to-earth zone where the locals live and hang out and Castello has the beautiful Giardini and the Biennale d'Arte (the Venice Arts Festival). Santa Croce is next to the station, just after the Ponte degli Scalzi.

Venice is the only European city and one of the few in the world to have its public transport located entirely on the water (the company is Actv) the timetable constantly changes, depending on the tide. The main waterway, in Venice (Canal Grande) is shaped like an 'S'; this means that if you want to travel from San Marco to Rialto by boat, it will take you twice as long as it would to walk (even if you were walking at a snail's pace). The Grand Canal has only three bridges: the Ponte dell'Accademia, the Ponte di Rialto and the Ponte di Rialto. However, at certain points along the canal it is also possible to hire a gondola (for a modest sum) to cross the stretch of water; it is often saves a great deal of time using a gondola, rather than searching for a bridge.

The main Actv lines are: no. 1, which sails from Piazzale Roma to Lido with lots of stops on the Grand Canal; it is very slow (it takes half an hour from start to finish) and should be used if you want to go sightseeing. There are two circular routes, nos. 41(anticlockwise) and 42 (clockwise) which travel around the whole of the city from San Zaccaria to Piazzale Roma via Giudecca, Cimitero and Murano. There are also nos. 51 and 52: they travel as far as Lido with fewer stops; the 82 also leaves from Lido to Rialto and finally arrives at San Zaccaria stopping at Giudecca, Piazzale Roma, Tronchetto and Ferrovia.

If taxis are more your 'thing', the water borne taxis have very different charges to the more generally found 'land' taxi. You should always tell the 'driver' your destination and find out the price before stepping onboard. Gondolas are also subject to additional charges: Although you will be charged for an hour in a gondola, the trip will actually only last 50 minutes and will cost L.120,000 for up to six people.