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The waterways of Venice are world famous. The city is made up of 118 islands and 150 canals. It is home to over 400 bridges and the only way to travel in this city is either on foot or by boat. Click here and here to see our posts about the Grand Canal.

This post and the next two will be dedicated to what travel the canals. We will start with the buses, and finish with taxis and gondolas.

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The waterbus in Venice are known as “vaporetto”. We bought the Venezia Unica pass which allowed unlimited use of the vaporetto service for 5 days. Sue and I arrived by train, getting off at the Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia, and got on our first vaporetto ride at the Ferrovia stop – we took Linea 4.1 to get to Fondamente de Noue where we made our way to the apartment.

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The vaporettos operate just like buses, quite frequently, the service is basic but reliable. At smaller stops, boats will come from both directions. So it is important to watch the board or the sign on the boat otherwise one can quite easily be going in the opposite direction.

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Linea Uno (No. 1) zigzags along the Grand Canal running from Piazzalle Roma to San Zaccaria near Piazza San Marco, and then enters the lagoon to get to Lido, making 20 stops. Not only it is great for tourist to see the canal, it also offers a quick way to get from one side of the canal to the other.

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In 1881 a regular public transport service with mechanically-propelled vessels began in Venice. In 1978, the current Venice Public Transport Company (Actv or “Azienda del Consorzio Trasporti Veneziano”) began operating. In 2010, ACTV owns approximately 620 buses and 160 boats and 150 floating pontoons. There are 19 scheduled lines.

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The vaporettos are super-crowded at certain times of day and the conductor is non-forgiving when it comes to crowd-control. I (Chris) was separated from Sue and IT and the crowd while getting off the boat at Accademia (I was too busy snapping the pictures for this blog). And I got stuck behind people who were not disembarking (with strollers and luggages). The conductor let a few people on and promptly put the chain across the little ramp, and signaled the boat to leave. My protests (verbal and eventually gestures) were totally ignored. Thankfully, there were enough boats going back and forth. I reunited with them within 15 minutes.

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Waterbus routes between the airport and the city and the lagoon area are provided by Alilaguna. We used Alilaguna service to reach the airport (Aeroporto di Marco Polo).

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The airport is located on the mainland 4.3 nautical miles north of Venice in Tessera.

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The waterway that connects the airport and the Venice lagoon operates just like a two-way highway on land.

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We saw pets on people’s boats.

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These dogs were watching the owner who got off the boat to bum a cigarette from a tourist nearby.

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More boats in our next post.


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