ABOVE: The Ponte di Calatrava is higher than most of Venice's bridges, but it has shallow steps and a gentle incline, so it's more manageable with luggage than you might guess.
We often get e-mails from readers who are worried about struggling over Venice's footbridges with luggage and other gear. Their concern isn't unwarranted: Venice is a city with more than 400 bridges--nearly all with steps--and few of those bridges are equipped with ramps for wheeled suitcases, strollers, or wheelchairs.
To make life easier for readers who'd like to minimize the up-and-down aspect of reaching their hotels, we've added a new feature to our main Venice for Visitors travel-planning site: "How Many Bridges to Cross?" hotel listings.
The listings consist of more than 20 pages, organized into three categories:
Popular areas (Piazza San Marco, St. Mark's Basin Waterfront, Rialto Bridge).
Transportation hubs (Piazzale Roma and Santa Lucia Railroad Station).
Cruise terminals (Marittima, San Basilio).
Alilaguna airport boat (individual stops on the Blue and Orange Lines).
On each page, you'll find hotels grouped by how many bridges you'll need to cross to reach them from the nearest transportation point: e.g., "0 bridges to cross," "1 bridge to cross," or "2 bridges to cross." (In most cases, we stop at two bridges, because the point of the "How Many Bridges?" guide is to help our readers limit their step-climbing.)
Click on a listing, and you'll be taken to a page at Venere or Booking.com where you can see photos of the hotel, read reviews by paying guests, and check availability and prices for the dates of your visit.
Note: There are many fine hotels in Venice that aren't within a bridge or two of public transportation. If you're traveling light, you may not mind a long walk over multiple bridges. But if you're wrestling with heavy bags, a perambulator, or a wheelchair, check our "How Many Bridges to Cross?" hotel listings before booking a room in Venice.