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  READ IT HERE
Venice has two interlocking street systems - the canals and the pavements - and contrary to what you might expect, you'll be using the latter for most of the time. Apart from services #1 and the #82, which cut through the city along the Canal Grande, the water-buses skirt the city centre, connecting points on the periphery and the outer islands. In many cases the speediest way of getting around is on foot . Distances between major sights are sometimes tortuous but extremely short (you can cross the whole city in an hour), and once you've got your general bearings you'll find that navigation is not as daunting as it seems at first.
Water-buses
A water-bus is the quickest way of getting between far-flung points, and even in cases where it might be quicker to walk, a canal trip is sometimes the more pleasant way of covering the distance. The lack of clear numbering on many of the boats is confusing at first, and the ACTV map of the lagoon transport system seems at first glance to resemble the wiring diagram of a telephone exchange, but in fact the routes are pretty straightforward.

There are two basic types of boat: the vaporetti , which are the lumbering workhorses used on the Canal Grande stopping service and other heavily used routes, and the motoscafi , smaller vessels employed on routes where the volume of traffic isn't as great (at the moment this means the two 'circular routes' - #41/42 and #51/52). On both types there's a flat-rate fare of L6000/3.10 for any one continuous journey (unless it's a traghetto journey in which case the fare is L3000/1.65); a return ticket costs L10,000/5.17.

Tickets are available from most landing stages, from tabacchi , from shops displaying the ACTV sign, at the airport, from the main tourist office, and from the two ACTV public offices - at Piazzale Roma (daily: summer 6am-midnight; winter 6am-8pm), and in Ramo dei Fuseri, close to the northwest corner of the Piazza (Mon-Fri 7.30am-6pm, Sat 7.30am-1pm). The Ramo dei Fuseri office is your best source of free up-to-date colour maps of the main routes, as the tourist offices seem to run out of them very quickly. In the remoter parts of the city, you may not be able to find anywhere to buy a ticket, particularly after working hours, when the booths at the landing stages tend to close down; tickets can be bought on board at the standard price, as long as you ask the attendant a soon as you get on board; if you delay, you could be liable for a L26,000/13.46 spot-fine.


The ACTV web site is at


ACTV produces three tourist tickets : a one-day (24hr) ticket (L18,000/9.3); a three-day (72hr) ticket (L35,000/18.08), and a seven-day (168hr) ticket (L60,000/30.99), all of which can be used on all water- and land buses within Venice. There are also 24-hour tickets for families of three, four and five (but children under the age of four can travel free), as well as a Canal Grande , a Laguna Nord (Northern Lagoon) and a Chioggia ticket; the last three all cost L15,000/?7.75, and allow unlimited travel along the specified routes for twelve hours.

If you buy one of these tickets at the train station or Piazzale Roma it will in all likelihood be automatically validated , unless you specifically request a non-validated ticket; the same goes for ordinary tickets. When using a non-validated ticket you must validate it before embarking, by inserting it into one of the machines at the entrance to the vaporetto stop or on board the bus (the machines are painted orange); the ticket is valid from that moment, and you need to validate it just once. The Carta Venezia , which is advertised at many vaporetto stops and gives huge reductions on all ACTV services, is not available to non-residents.


Traghetti
There are only three bridges along the Canal Grande - at the train station, Rialto and Accademia - so the traghetti (gondola ferries) that cross it can be useful time-savers. Costing just L700, they are also the only cheap way of getting a ride on a gondola, albeit a stripped-down version, with none of the trimmings and no padded seats - it's de rigueur to stand in the traghetto gondolas. The gondola traghetti across the Canal Grande are as follows, in summer: San Marco-Salute (daily 9am-noon & 2-6pm); Santa Maria del Giglio-Salute (Mon-Sat 9am-7pm); Ca' Rezzonico-San Samuele (Mon-Sat 7.40am-1.20pm); San Tomà-Santo Stefano (Mon-Sat 7am-8.50pm; Sun 8am-7.50pm); Riva del Carbon-Riva del Vin (near Rialto; Mon-Sat 8am-2pm); Santa Sofia-Rialto (Mon-Sat 7am-8.50pm; Sun 8am-7.50pm); San Marcuola-Fondaco dei Turchi (Mon-Sat 7.30am-1.30pm); train station-San Simeone (Mon-Sat 7.45am-1.30pm). In the winter months it's common for traghetti to cease operating earlier than the times indicated above, or even to be suspended altogether.

In addition to these, some vaporetti and motoscafi operate as traghetti across the Canal Grande and over to the nearer islands: for example, if you want to go from San Zaccaria over to San Giorgio Maggiore, you need only pay the lower traghetto fare of L3000. If your journey is a short single-stop trip across a body of water, a traghetto fare almost certainly applies, even if it's not shown on the tariff list on the ticket booth



Gondolas
The gondola , once Venice's chief form of transport, has become an adjunct of the tourist industry and the city's biggest cliché. That said, the gondola is an astonishingly graceful craft, perfectly designed for negotiating the tortuous canals, and an hour's slow voyage through the city can give you a wholly new perspective on the place. To hire one costs L120,000/?62 per fifty minutes for up to six passengers, rising to L150,000/?77.47 between 8pm and 8am; you pay an extra L60,000/?30.99 for every additional 25 minutes, or L75,000/?38.74 from 8pm to 8am. Further hefty surcharges will be levied should you require the services of an on-board accordionist or tenor - and a surprising number of people do, despite the strangulated voices and hackneyed repertoire of most of the aquatic Carusos. Even though the tariff is set by the local authorities, it's been known for some gondoliers to try to extort even higher rates than these - if you do decide to go for a ride, establish the charge before setting off.

To minimize the chances of being ripped off by a private individual making a few million lire on the side, only take a boat from one of the following official gondola stands : west of the Piazza at Calle Vallaresso, Campo San Moisè or Campo Santa Maria del Giglio; immediately north of the Piazza at Bacino Orseolo; on the Molo, in front of the Palazzo Ducale; outside the Danieli hotel on Riva degli Schiavoni; at the train station; at Piazzale Roma; at Campo Santa Sofia, near the Ca' d'Oro; at San Tomà, to the east of the Frari; or by the Rialto Bridge on Riva Carbon. Your gondolier will assume that you'll want to be taken along the Canal Grande or across the Bacino di San Marco, but you'll probably not be making the best use of the opportunity if you opt for one of these: for one thing, these major waterways look much the same from a vaporetto as from a gondola; and for another, the gondola will tend to get bashed around by the wash from the bigger boats. Better to choose a quarter of the city that has struck you as being particularly alluring, head for the gondola stand that's nearest to it, and ask to be taken there - a gondola displaces so little water, and the gondoliers are so skilful, that there's hardly a canal in the city that they can't negotiate.



Taxis
The gondola , once Venice's chief form of transport, has become an adjunct of the tourist industry and the city's biggest cliché. That said, the gondola is an astonishingly graceful craft, perfectly designed for negotiating the tortuous canals, and an hour's slow voyage through the city can give you a wholly new perspective on the place. To hire one costs L120,000/?62 per fifty minutes for up to six passengers, rising to L150,000/?77.47 between 8pm and 8am; you pay an extra L60,000/?30.99 for every additional 25 minutes, or L75,000/?38.74 from 8pm to 8am. Further hefty surcharges will be levied should you require the services of an on-board accordionist or tenor - and a surprising number of people do, despite the strangulated voices and hackneyed repertoire of most of the aquatic Carusos. Even though the tariff is set by the local authorities, it's been known for some gondoliers to try to extort even higher rates than these - if you do decide to go for a ride, establish the charge before setting off.

To minimize the chances of being ripped off by a private individual making a few million lire on the side, only take a boat from one of the following official gondola stands : west of the Piazza at Calle Vallaresso, Campo San Moisè or Campo Santa Maria del Giglio; immediately north of the Piazza at Bacino Orseolo; on the Molo, in front of the Palazzo Ducale; outside the Danieli hotel on Riva degli Schiavoni; at the train station; at Piazzale Roma; at Campo Santa Sofia, near the Ca' d'Oro; at San Tomà, to the east of the Frari; or by the Rialto Bridge on Riva Carbon. Your gondolier will assume that you'll want to be taken along the Canal Grande or across the Bacino di San Marco, but you'll probably not be making the best use of the opportunity if you opt for one of these: for one thing, these major waterways look much the same from a vaporetto as from a gondola; and for another, the gondola will tend to get bashed around by the wash from the bigger boats. Better to choose a quarter of the city that has struck you as being particularly alluring, head for the gondola stand that's nearest to it, and ask to be taken there - a gondola displaces so little water, and the gondoliers are so skilful, that there's hardly a canal in the city that they can't negotiate.


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