Venice update

By | Category: Travel destinations

Vaporetto validation machine

From April this year, a new rule was put in place on public transport. When you buy a ticket to use on the buses or water buses, you had to validate your ticket by passing it across a machine which is at every location and looks like the picture. Now if you buy one of the 24, 36 72 hour or seven day passes, you must validate the card before each and every journey. Failure to do so will result in a €6 fine. It is an attempt to cut down on the fraud by those who don’t pay but it doesn’t seem to be policed very well at the moment. Maybe that is because I have just got back and the tourist season may be considered over. I was only checked once! Incidentally not buying a ticket at all results in a €52 fine which is about £45.
To buy or not to buy a 24, 36, 48, 72 hour or 7 day pass is something I often get asked. If you don’t have one a single fare is €6.50, so the return is €13. A 72 hour pass costs €33 if you buy it when you get to Venice. If you buy it in advance and you are not there at a weekend you can get it as low as €23. It becomes a simple question of maths. More than one journey and it is worthwhile.


But Venice is easy to walk around once you know your way. It has signs to the major places like Rialto, San Marco (St Marks) and Ferrovia (railway station) but it can be confusing as I pointed out earlier.

Once you get your bearings then you really don’t need a ticket; it’s easier to walk. From Rialto to San Marco shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes and from Accademia (where both the Accademia gallery and the Peggy Guggenheim is) to the Guidecca, no more than five (it’s one straight road. Remember though there are few bridges to cross the Grand Canal and none to cross the Guidecca. There is one at the bus station (Piazzale Roma), one at Ferrovia, another at Rialto and the final one at Accademia. You can cross the Grand Canal using the traghetto, which is a straight crossing of the canal in a larger version of a gondola. There are eight points at which you can cross and the fare is half a euro. But half the fun is riding on the vaporetto (water bus) and the only way (unless you pay the extortionate gondola fees) to see the buildings alongside some of the canals. Some people complain that although the distance walked isn’t far climbing the steps up and down the bridges over some of the smaller canals (some barely 10 feet wide) makes you more tired than just walking on the flat.

The only wooden bridge across the Grand Canal; Accademia

A word about toilets. There aren’t that many and they charge. The price can be from €0.80 to €1.50. (on Burano) You can buy cards online that are supposed to give entry but at both the railway station and on Burano only cash was acceptable to the people inside who supervised them. There are toilets at the major tourist draws like San Marco, Rialto, Accademia whilst at Piazzale Roma there are a load of portaloos at the moment. Restaurants have toilets but only for customers and some even have signs pointing this out. The public toilets are only open from 9am to 6pm so be warned!
In the last story on Venice, we mentioned the bag sellers. Men from North Africa park themselves in squares, on bridges and indeed anywhere where visitors walk and try to flog you their wares. Not only is it illegal to sell them, it is illegal to buy from them and visitors in the past have been charged hefty fines running into hundreds of euros. Do not buy and do not accept little “gifts” of carved wooden animals they offer you. If you accept the “free” gift, then they turn to you and ask for a euro or two as a donation. Despite the regulations, they flaunt them even to the extent that I saw one selling a Gucci bag outside the Gucci shop St Marks! And I counted ten sellers on one Tuesday in late November so business must still be lucrative for them.
On the Lido at the wharf, they have installed a rack of fifteen bicycle stations for visitors to use. For the first hour the price is free. For the second hour it is €1 and every hour or part of an hour is a further €2. Given that the Lido is only 11 kilometres long and about half a kilometre wide, you can see most of the area in an hour. If you have a tourist pass for the vaporetti then you can use that on the orange buses are outside the ferry wharf. There is also another location near the cinema and there are bicycle hire shops as well.
If you want to take a day trip from Venice, there are many buses and trains to Padua (about 30 minutes away), Verona, Trieste to name but three. Train frequencies are erratic so plan in advance. And you have to validate your ticket either on the bus or at an orange machine at the station.
Finally a word about a common trick. The express airport bus costs €5 each way or €9 return. There is a local bus (number 5 which takes only a little longer) but which costs just €1.30. When you buy your ticket make sure you get the one you want. It isn’t unknown for the sellers at the Piazzale Roma to sell you the express fare but give you the ticket for the local bus. So the man in orange glasses last Thursday made over €11 from just the three passengers that were fleeced on the bus I caught!

The number 5 local bus

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