Previous month:
June 2011
Next month:
August 2011

July 2011

Trains from Mestre to Venice, and parking in Mestre

Cedar Imboden Phillips and Jackson Phillips on train in Italy

ABOVE: Cedar and Jackson Phillips ride the train between Mestre and Venice. BELOW: A sign in Mestre's railroad station, and the Linea 25 boat pier at San Giuliano.

Mestre Railroad Station sign Recently, we published the first in a series of articles about Mestre, on the Venetian mainland. This prosperous town of 180,000 is part of the comune di Venezia, and it's home to many people who work or attend university in Venice.

For tourists, Mestre is important for two reasons:

  • Its hotels are cheaper than their counterparts in Venice, and many hotels offer parking on the premises.
  • Its parking facilities are less expensive than the Tronchetto and Piazzale Roma garages in Venice's historic center, and motorists can park without worrying about traffic jams on the 4-km causeway that connects Venice to terrafirma.

From Mestre's city center, tourists can reach Venice by train in 10 to 12 minutes at the dirt-cheap price of €1,05 each way.

From the San Giuliano parking lots on the outskirts of Mestre, next to the Venetian Lagoon, parkers can take a water bus to Venice in 24 minutes for less than the cost of a vaporetto ride in the city center.

We recommend staying in Venice's historic center if you possibly can, but if budget constraints or a car make it more practical to sleep on the mainland, see the new Mestre section of Venice for Visitors for illustrated articles about the Mestre railway station, traveling by train from Mestre to Venice, the Parcheggi San Giuliano car park, and Mestre airport buses from Venice Marco Polo Airport.

No 25 vaporetto from San Giuliano car park in Venice Mestre

No rubbish on the floor

Sign in Venezia Mestre train station

ABOVE: When in doubt about littering, look for a helpful sign like the one above.

Have you ever wondered whether it was OK to throw your rubbish on the floor of a railroad station? At the Venezia Mestre station, the authorities have come to the rescue of uncertain travelers by posting a sign that gives an answer to that perpexing question. (In other train stations, you may need to inquire before deciding whether to toss your trash on the platform or use a wastebasket.)

Venice has a new tourist tax

Purse snatcher

ABOVE: Protect yourselves from pickpockets and purse-snatchers in Venice, because you'll need money to pay the new tourist tax.

For a city that depends heavily on tourism for income, Venice often shows a contemptuous attitude toward visitors. For example, Actv (the local transit authority) makes tourists fork over nearly six times the fare that locals pay for a vaporetto ride, and spending a penny at a public WC will cost you one and a half euros--or more than you'd pay for a Value Meal hamburger at McDonald's in most countries.

To add insult to injury, the City of Venice is introducing a tourist tax on visitors who stay in hotels, B&Bs, campgrounds, and other lodgings. The tax, which goes into effect on August 24, is charged per person for the first five nights of the tourist's visit.

How much is the tax? That depends. The city's official annuncement states:

"Tariffs will vary according to season (there will be two fares, one for low and on for high season), location (three areas have been identified: Venice old town, the islands and the mainland) and to the type of accommodation (hotels, b&b, campsites, holiday village, etc). In fact, there is a series of tax reductions foreseen for accommodation facilities located on the islands in the Lagoon (30%) or on the mainland (40%) and during low season (up to 50%)."

The formula is extremely complicated, but you can expect to pay anywhere from 20 cents a day to five euros per day for each adult, depending on location, season, and type of accommodation. Children from ages 10 to16 get a 50% discount, while kids under 10 escape the tax. For a detailed PDF document in Italian, click here.

Photo: Lisa Gagne.