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Venice information and district guide                 (Back to Venice main information page)

If you are coming to Venice from within Italy, the best way to travel is by train. There are few parking spaces in Piazzale Roma, and these are normally costly and almost always occupied. If you decide to drive to Tronchetto, you will find that the situation there is not much better. It makes sense to leave your car in Mestre in a supervised car park and take a train into the centre of Venice. When you arrive in Venice, make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes, as you will walk a lot?not because the city is large, but because the numerous bridges all have stairs.

A few words about the layout of the city: Venice is divided into six zones, and the addresses have consecutive numbers, e.g. Cannaregio 1, 2 etc. As well as having "popolare" addresses, each building has an official address, e.g. Calle delle Vele. The popular address and the official address are always written together e.g. Cannaregio 1234, Calle delle Vele. The tricky thing is that each zone has the same street name so postmen have a very difficult (and highly respected) job, because the official address (in this case Calle delle Vele) is never enough to make sure the post goes to the right place.

The six zones or "sestiere" are as follows: San Marco, San Polo, Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, Castello and Santa Croce. Although there are six zones, it is possible to cross the city on foot in under an hour. The zones do not really have strict divisions, but they are characterized in different ways: Dursoduro contains students and the city's university; Cannaregio is home to the historic ghetto; San Marco has the Basilica and the Piazza, which is probably one of the world's most famous squares; San Polo is a down-to-earth area where the locals live and hang out; Castello has the beautiful Giardini and the Biennale d'Arte (the Venice Arts Festival); Santa Croce is next to the station, just after the Ponte degli Scalzi.

Venice is the only European city and one of the few in the world to have its public transport located entirely on the water. Run by Actv Company, the timetable constantly changes, depending on the tide. The main waterway in Venice (Canal Grande) is shaped like an S; this means that if you want to travel from San Marco to Rialto by boat, it will take you twice as long as it would to walk (even if you were walking at a snail's pace). The Grand Canal has only three bridges, but at certain points along the canal you can hire a gondola (for a modest sum) to cross the stretch of water; this often saves a great deal of time.

The main Actv lines are as follows: no. 1, which sails from Piazzale Roma to Lido with lots of stops on the Grand Canal; it is very slow (it takes half an hour from start to finish) and should be used if you want to go sightseeing. There are two circular routes, nos. 41(anticlockwise) and 42 (clockwise) which travel around the whole of the city from San Zaccaria to Piazzale Roma via Giudecca, Cimitero and Murano. Nos. 51 and 52 travel as far as Lido with fewer stops. The 82 goes from Lido to Rialto, stopping at Giudecca, Piazzale Roma, Tronchetto and Ferrovia, with San Zaccaria as its final destination.

If you prefer taxis, the water-borne cabs have very different charges to the more generally found land taxi. You should always tell the driver your destination and find out the price before stepping aboard. Gondolas are also subject to additional charges. They will charge you for an hour even if your trip only lasts 50 minutes: expect to pay 60 euro for up to six people.

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