Welcome to the Venice Travel Blog

Cheryl Imboden with Venice map
Venice Travel Blog is an extension of our travel-planning Web site, Venice for Visitors, which PC Magazine has called "the premier visitors' site for Venice, Italy." We hope you'll visit often, and we invite you to post your comments about traveling or living in Venice. If you're fond of animals, take a look at our dog blog, Maggie in Venice: A Bearded Collie's Adventures in Italy.

Finally, if you're traveling to Venice for the first time, don't miss our "Introducing Venice" article at Veniceforvisitors.com.

- Durant and Cheryl Imboden


Santa Chiara Hotel: Perfect for cruisers and luggage luggers

Santa Chiara Hotel, Venice

ABOVE: The Santa Chiara Hotel is next to the Grand Canal and the Piazzale Roma, making it easy to reach from airport buses, taxis, parking, and cruise ships.



V
enice's Santa Chiara Hotel has long been popular with cruise passengers and visitors with heavy luggage, for a simple reason:

It's located along the edge of the Piazzale Roma, just a short walk from airport buses, land taxis, and the People Mover elevated tram to the Tronchetto parking garage and the Marittima cruise terminals.

From the Santa Chiara Hotel, it's easy to reach Venice's historic center on foot:

  • You can cross the Calatrava Bridge (railing in the foreground of the photo above) and continue past the railroad station toward the Piazza San Marco. Or...

  • You can cross a smaller stone bridge behind the hotel to reach Venice's main sights by a less crowded (and, to us, more interesting) route.

In the past, the 500-year-old palazzo-style hotel suffered from a major shortcoming: It was small, so getting a room could be extremely difficult at busy times of the year. Now, with the opening of a modern (and fully-accessible) addition with superior guest rooms and conveniences, the Santa Chiara can accommodate more guests than before.

Still, we recommend booking early to be sure of getting a room at the Santa Chiara Hotel or its annex, the Residenza Parisi. You can always cancel your reservation if you change your mind.

Tip: Our hotel partner, Booking.com, offers guaranteed lowest available rates with free cancellation in most cases. To check rooms and rates, see:

Santa Chiara Hotel and Residenza Parisi

We also suggest viewing this page at our travel-planning site, Venice for Visitors:

Walking Directions to the Santa Chiara Hotel

Finally, here's a nighttime photo of the hotel and the Calatrava Bridge:

Ponte di Calatrava and Hotel Santa Chiara


Can you trust ACTV vaporetto timetables?

Venice San Zaccaria ACTV stop

ABOVE: The No. 7 water bus offers direct service from San Zaccaria (near the Piazza San Marco) to the glassmaking island of Murano, but when we took it in April, the ACTV's official published timetable didn't even show the route (although the ACTV map and station timetables did).



V
enice's ACTV transit system offers a convenient (if expensive) way to get around Venice's historic center. It's also the most practical way to reach Murano, the Lido di Venezia, and other islands in the Venetian Lagoon.

At our travel-planning site, Venice for Visitors, we include a page with links to the ACTV's official route map and timetables, which can help you figure out how to get from point A to B when you're in Venice. But we do feel compelled to share a warning:

The ACTV Web site can be slow to update published timetables!

If you're visiting Venice at the beginning or end of a season (say, in spring or fall), you may find that some routes are missing from the published timetable and some routes have stopped operating for the season.

Fortunately, the ACTV's route map is more reliable than the timetables are. Here's a workable strategy to prevent disappointments or unpleasant surprises when the ACTV's published timetable hasn't been updated quickly enough:

1. Look for routes of interest on the ACTV map. (You can download the map or view it at any ACTV vaporetto station.)

2. Check the ACTV published timetable for information about the route (which may or may not be shown, depending on the time of year).

3. When you're in Venice, go to one of the stations on the boat line that interests you. Look for the route timetable near the waterbus platforms to confirm that the boat is in operation.

The captioned photos below will help you check ACTV route numbers when you're in Venice.



At ACTV waterbus stations, you'll see route numbers displayed above the pontili or floating platforms:

ACTV pontile

ACTV route numbers



Larger stations may have four or more platforms, with station maps to help you find the right pontoon:

ACTV Rialto station map



Once you've found the pontile or platform for the vaporetto line that interests you, look for a route timetable:

ACTV station map and timetable



Tip:
You'll often find a route sign inside the pontile's waiting area. This sign shows the stations where the water bus will stop, so you can plan where to get off before you board the boat.

ACTV vaporetto line map



F
or more information about public and private transit in Venice, see the Venice Transportation and Parking guide at Veniceforvisitors.com.


Mestre hotels for cruise passengers

T1 tram in Piazzale Roma

ABOVE: From the T1 tram's terminus in Venice's Piazzale Roma, it's only a short walk over level ground to the Venice People Mover (an automated tram that runs to the Marittima cruise basin).

Mestre, on the Venetian mainland, is popular with cruise passengers for two reasons:

  • Hotels in Mestre are usually cheaper (or offer better value) than hotels in Venice's historic center; and...

  • From a hotel in Mestre, you can take a land taxi directly to the Venice cruise terminals at Marittima (used by large ships), San Basilio, and Santa Marta.

If you're considering a hotel in Mestre and are willing to pay 30 euros or more for a taxi to the port, any of the hotels in the article below should meet your needs:

Mestre & Marghera Hotels Guide

However, if you'd rather take public transportation, you need to consider your options:

1.  You can stay near the Mestre railroad station and take a train to Venice's Santa Lucia station, then cross the Calatrava Bridge to the Piazzale Roma and take the People Mover to the Marittima cruise port.

2.  You can stay in a hotel on a public bus line in Mestre that runs to Venice's Piazzale Roma. This may sound like a practical choice, but city buses can be crowded, and you may regret trying to board a bus filled with daytrippers or commuters when you're hauling bulky luggage.

3.  Your best bet (if you're departing from the Marittima cruise port) is to stay in a hotel on the new tram line that runs between central Mestre and Venice's Piazzale Roma:

Mestre Hotels on the T1 Tram Line

The tram is roomier and easier to board than buses are, and from the tram stop in Venice, you can walk a short distance to the People Mover. (The People Mover station has escalators and an elevator, so it's easy to manage even with a large, heavy suitcase.) See:

People Mover to the Venice Marittima Cruise Terminals

  • Note: If you've already booked a hotel in an inconvenient location (or if you've let a travel agent make that mistake for you), we suggest that you cancel the reservation unless you're willing to splurge on a taxi.

For more information about cruising from (or to) Venice, see the Venice for Cruisers section of our travel-planning site, Veniceforvisitors.com:

Venice for Cruisers