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October 2010

Packing for a trip to Venice


ABOVE: In Venice, luggage usually needs to be lugged.

On the "Overpacking" page of our Venice for Visitors article, "Top 10 Tourist Mistakes in Venice, Italy (and how to avoid them)", we warn against traveling to Venice with more baggage than you're prepared to carry. It may seem redundant to repeat the warning here, but with so many tourists struggling to haul giant suitcases through the crowded streets of Venice, we feel compelled to say "Don't overpack!" once again.

Consider these facts:

  • Venice has more than 400 pedestrian bridges, most of them with steps on both sides.
  • Streets are mostly narrow, and they're often crowded with locals and tourists.
  • Even if you hire a water taxi from your point of arrival, it may not be able to drop you off at your hotel. (Not all canals are accessible by water taxi, so you may need to walk a few blocks with your luggage from the nearest boat landing.)
  • In acqua alta season, you may need to lift your bags above the water (especially in the San Marco area) to keep them dry. Even in areas with passerelle, or elevated wooden walkways, guiding a large wheeled suitcase along a narrow plank isn't easy (and is likely to annoy the people who are stuck behind you as you struggle with your bag).

Our advice: Limit your luggage to a wheeled suitcase of carry-on size and a small backpack. If you must bring large suitcases to Venice, do one of the following:

imob discount vaporetto card is now valid for 5 years

Venice imob electronic card reader

ABOVE: An imob electronic card reader at a vaporetto stop. 

The imob transit discount card (formerly Cartavenezia), which we discussed in an earlier post, is a great value if you ride Venice's vaporetti and motoscafi often, are going to be in town for a while, or come to Venice at least once a year. 

The card lets you buy Actv boat tickets for as little as one euro per ride, compared to the eye-popping and wallet-gouging 6,50 euros that ordinary tourists pay.

Now the card is an even better deal: As of October 1, 2010, new imob cards are valid for five years instead of the previous three years, and the price is still only 40 euros (which you'll recoup in about seven vaporetto rides). 

For more information about buying and using the card, see our imob card (Cartavenezia) article at Venice for Visitors.