Monday, August 1, 2011

Venice, Italy: Day Trip from Rome

An unforgettable day trip to Venice can be arranged as part of a flexible Rome visit. By air: Both Alitalia and easyJet fly nonstop from Rome-Fiumicino and offer morning departures with same-day evening returns. By train: Trenitalia runs bullet trains (marketed as Eurostar AV) from Rome-Termini to Venice-Santa Lucia with fares not much more than the standard trains, but at half the time - only 3h50m. These high-speed routes only stop at Florence, Bologna and Padua.

Between Venice-Marco Polo Airport (VCE) and city center:
Alilaguna* (ferry) WEBSITE
ACTV Line 5 (bus) WEBSITE
ATVO Line 35 (motorcoach) WEBSITE

*The quickest route between the airport and city center is the Orange, or Arancio, line.

Of these three, the ATVO motorcoach is the most luxurious ride for the money. However, I recommend you experience each one of these options at least once.

The main attractions of Venice (the main fish-shaped island) can be seen and enjoyed on foot. For example, simply walk between St Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge. Neighboring islands may be visited using the vaporetto system as described below.

Maps are free at any airport kiosk or hotel desk. Any map is fine, but the handiest are the ones on the back of a hotel business card. For an official online version of the transport map, click here.

Main transit systems:
Vaporetto (waterbus)
Traghetto* (standing gondola)
Gondola (hired ride up to 6 passengers)

*Also called gondola da parada in Italian, this gondola is inexpensive, standing-only and used solely for crossing the Grand Canal in lieu of bridges.

Perhaps the two most useful vaporetto lines for tourists are [2] and [N]. They connect St Mark's Square to the east with Santa Lucia Station to the north by running the length of the Grand Canal. They also stop at a couple of islands on the south side. Within the St Mark's Square area are the Basilica, Campanile, Doge's Palace and behind it, the Bridge of Sighs. Along the Grand Canal, a vaporetto will take you under the iconic Rialto Bridge, so a deck seat is a must!

Vaporetto 2 or N:
St Mark's <> Rialto Bridge <> Santa Lucia Station <> Giudecca <> San Giorgio

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