Venice  
 
Everyone has their very own private Venice, with their favourite special corners that they want to share with other admirers of the city. This is my guide to the Venice that Mike and I enjoy and want to share with you, and even if you’ve visited before, it may reveal aspects of La Serenissima which you haven’t yet discovered.   Fredo 
 
BEFORE YOU GO:  
 
You will need 
  • Travel insurance  
  • EHIC (previously E111) - your European Health Insurance Card (Do you have one? You should.) 
  • A good map of Venice - Remember Location Location Location - it is essential to find the location of your hotel on a map before you leave home.
  •  
     
     
     
     
    THINGS TO TAKE: 
     
  • Sun cream  
  • After-sun cream (obviously, you won’t need these in winter...though you might!) 
  • Umbrella 
  • Comfortable walking shoes 
  • Insect repellent (there may be mosquitoes although we have not been troubled)
  •  
    Remember the golden PMT rule 
  • P      Passport 
  • M      Money 
  • T      Tickets
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    WHEN YOU ARRIVE IN VENICE 
     
    In Venice you either walk or you take a water bus (a vaporetto). Water taxis are hugely expensive and so are single tickets for a vaporetto ride, but a good option at Marco Polo airport is to buy a combined vaporetto pass and return ticket for the road bus from airport to city..  
     
    You will need to use the vaporetti (water buses) to get around the city, and a single journey costs 7 euros (January 2015). However, look out for the "VeneziaUnica” (Venice Connected) office or self-service ticket machines at Marco Polo airport where you can buy a vaporetto pass to save money. You may also buy a pass before you leave home - See more info at http://www.veneziaunica.it/en/node/623
     
    The passes or Travel Cards (similar to the Oyster Cards we use on London's transport system) are offered in time periods ranging from 24 hours to 7 days. Use them as often as you like. The costs of the Travel Cards (Jan 2015) are: 
    1 day card (24 hours) - 20 euros 
    2 day card (48 hours) - 30 euros 
    3 day card (72 hours) - 40 euros 
    7 day card (1 week) - 60 euros 
    The timing begins from the moment you first validate the pass at the vaporetto stop. 
     
     
     
     
    At Marco Polo airport, you can catch a local bus or an Airport  Express Bus to Piazzale Roma (the boarding-point for the Grand Canal and all vaporetti destinations). The bus fare for the No.5 stopping bus (€4 one-way or €8 return) can be added to the cost of whichever vaporetto pass you choose. This bus is cheaper (but often more crowded) than the non-stop Airport Express. Buses leave frequently and it takes about 15-20 minutes to arrive at  Piazzale Roma (see below) depending on traffic. 
     
    You can buy your bus ticket from a machine outside the terminal (the instructions are in English). Or ask the driver.  Both local and Express buses leave from directly in front of the terminal exit, the local No. 5 stop being to the left of the Express bus stop. It's worth checking which bus leaves first but of course the cheaper local bus takes a little longer.
     
      
    There are also road taxis to Piazzale Roma, and there is the Alilaguna water bus, a sign-posted 'eight minute' walk away (they say) on the waterfront. There are now several Alilaguna routes to Venice so check for the one to take you nearest to your hotel. You will need to know your hotel's nearest Alilaguna waterbus stop. The single fare is about €15. The journey time will vary depending on the route - it will take much longer than the bus to Piazzale Roma but it will save taking a vaporetto in addition to the bus ride.  
     
    Water taxis from the waterfront to your Venice hotel are very expensive (a flat €100+ fare) but may be worth it if there is a group of you all with suitcases. 
     
    If you arrive by train you can buy your pass outside the station and board a vaporetto immediately on the Grand Canal. Leaving the station with the Grand Canal right there in front of you is one of life's 'wow' experiences! 
     
    If you fly to Treviso airport, there is a dedicated bus service, which goes to Piazzale Roma.
     
    AT PIAZZALE ROMA 
     
    This is the bus terminus for Venice. Here you will leave transport with wheels behind. Look for the ACTV office where you can buy your ticket for the water-bus, which you must get used to calling the vaporetto. Of course you may already have bought your vaporetto pass at the airport but otherwise it can be purchased here. Single journeys are expensive, as we said above, so we recommend you buying a pass, depending on the length of your visit. The ticket sellers are generally helpful and speak English. 
     
    The vaporetti stops are on the Grand Canal, down the steps by the ticket office, beside a new bridge. The new indicator signs are efficient at telling you which vaporetti go where, and where to board them. Make sure you know which stop you need to disembark at for your hotel. You must validate your ticket/pass before you board the boat and EACH TIME you use it - hold it against the small machine similar to London’s card scanners  (like you would an Oyster card). There's no need to remove it from your wallet. 
     
    It is important to have a valid ticket or pass when you board the vaporetto.  Yes, ticket inspections are frequent, and yes, you do have to pay a hefty fine if you don’t buy a ticket. But if you don't have a ticket when you board, tell a member of the vaporetto staff and they will issue you with a single journey ticket. 
     
    If this is your first visit, remember that you only get one chance to arrive in Venice for the first time - it's like arriving nowhere else so savour your first ride up the Grand Canal. Board Line 1, which stops at (almost) all stops on the Grand Canal; Line 2 is faster, as it doesn’t stop between Ferrovia  (the railway station, also known as Venezia Santa Lucia) and the Rialto. If you’re lucky, you’ll find one of the older vaporetti with outside seats at the bow or stern. Sit back, and start to enjoy the unique Venice views. 
     
    Of course not all vaporetti take the main picturesque Grand Canal route.The ones for the Giudecca, the Zattere, the Fondamenti Nuove or the Riva degli Schiavoni and other parts of Venice may head away from the Grand Canal, through other parts of Venice around the docks or towards the lagoon.  But the indicator signs at P'le Roma (that's how they abbreviate it) will tell you which route to take. 
     
    The vaporetti get very crowded. Don’t forget, this is the Venetian equivalent of the Circle Line, and Venice is a working city. Even so, the vaporetti are an efficient form of transport once you get used to the slow pace. 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
      
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    Make sure you have your map to hand as you don't want to get lost before you've arrived! Whether making your way to a hotel or an apartment, it's best to check your route on a map from the nearest vaporetti stop to your destination before you even leave home! It's fun to get lost in Venice on a sunny day, but not such fun at night when you are tired and dragging luggage. 
     
    (From May 2015, we understand it becomes an offence to drag suitcases with noisy wheels after 11.00pm. The sound is amplified in narrow alleyways, disturbs the locals, and you could be fined €80! Use suitcases with rubber wheels, arrive earlier, or carry them, please.) 
     
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