Getting there & away
ATVO (Azienda Trasporti Veneto Orientale; 041 520 55 30) operates buses to destinations all over the eastern Veneto. A handful of other companies have the occasional service to more-distant locations but, for most places in Italy, the train is an easier option. Tickets and information are available at the ticket office on Piazzale Roma.
The congested A4 connects Trieste with Turin, passing through Mestre (and hence Venice). Take the Venezia exit and follow the signs. From the south, take the A13 from Bologna, which connects with the A4 at Padua.
Once over the Ponte della Libertà bridge from Mestre, cars must be left at one of the car parks on Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto. You will pay €20 or more for every 24 hours. Parking stations in Mestre are cheaper.
The car-rental companies listed here all have offices on Piazzale Roma, as well as at Marco Polo airport. Several companies operate in or near Mestre train station too.
Avis (041 523 73 77)
Europcar (041 523 86 16)
Expressway (041 522 30 00)
Hertz (041 528 40 91)
Prompt, affordable, scenic and environmentally savvy, trains are the preferred transport option to and from Venice. Trains run frequently to Venice’s Stazione Santa Lucia (signed as Ferrovia within Venice) from locations throughout Italy and major European cities; vaporetti (city ferries) stop right outside the station. Train tickets can be purchased at self-serve ticketing machines in the station, online at www.trenitalia.it, or in the UK at Rail Europe (tel: 0844 8484064; www.raileurope.co.uk).
Venice is linked by train to Padua (€2.90 to €15.70, 30 to 50 minutes, three to four each hour) and Verona (€6.15 to €25.20, 1¼ to 2½ hours, two each hour). Regular trains run further afield to Milan (€14.50 to €38.50, 2½ to 3¼ hours), Bologna (€8.90 to €35.20, 1¾ to 2¾ hours), Florence (€21.50 to €54.50, 2¾ to 3¾ hours) and many other major points in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia and Croatia.
Minoan Lines (www.minoan.gr) and Anek (www.anekitalia.com) run regular ferries to Venice from Greece, while Venezia Lines (www.venezialines.com) runs high-speed boats to and from Croatia and Slovenia in summer – but consider big-ship transport carefully. Long-haul ferries and cruise ships have an outsize environmental impact on tiny Venice and its fragile lagoon aquaculture, exposing Venice’s ancient foundations to degradation from high-speed motoschiaffi (wakes) and leakage of wastewater from the bilge, ballast and flushing of onboard toilets. Take the lower-impact train instead, and Venice will be most grateful.
Most flights arrive and depart from Marco Polo airport (VCE; tel: 041 260 92 60; www.veniceairport.it), 12km outside Venice, east of Mestre. Ryanair’s budget flights to/from London Stansted, Dublin, Shannon and Paris currently use San Giuseppe airport (TSF; tel: 0422 31 51 11; www.trevisoairport.it), about 5km southwest of Treviso and a 30km, one-hour drive from Venice. Low-cost airlines are a benefit to travellers, but a burden on the environment and Venice’s air quality; to travel with a cleaner conscience, consider a carbon-offset program.