information and district guide
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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
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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