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).
Venice'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:
Larger stations may have four or more platforms, with station maps to help you find the right pontoon:
Once you've found the pontile or platform for the vaporetto line that interests you, look for a route 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.
For more information about public and private transit in Venice, see the Venice Transportation and Parking guide at Veniceforvisitors.com.