It should come as no surprise to read in a slew of travel publications that Venice is one of the most popular destinations in all of Europe. While the approximately 20+ million out-of-towners that visit her annually marvel at her magical scenery, scores of “most beautiful vacation destinations” lists repeatedly place her at or near the top of their surveys.

I won’t argue with that, as I’ve always felt that La Serenissima, not only here in Italy and the rest of Europe, is one of the most spectacular cities on earth.

That’s why I visit her often, mainly to savor cicchetti (appetizers) and an ombra (glass of wine) in back-alley bàcari (bars), especially now that I’m practically a bona fide anonymous Venetian. Let me explain.

Glide like A Venetian | ©thepalladiantraveler.comAs a resident of the Veneto region — my home is in the Euganean Hills near Padova and Venice is the regional capital — I qualify to carry a bright-red VeneziaUnica (OnlyVenice) City Pass. It’s a pre-paid card which allows me to clamber aboard vaporetti (public water buses) for one-way excursions around the City of Canals, as well as land transport, at the reduced il veneziano (Venetian) rate of only €1.50. All I have to do is ask.

And, ask I do, at the Actv office, the brick building with HELLOVENEZIA-inscribed awnings located just past Piazzale Roma, the large square where buses and cars park, at the foot of the Ponte della Costituzione, or Ponte di Calatrava as the locals call the bridge.

Glide like A Venetian | ©thepalladiantraveler.comFlashing my Italian carta d’identità (identification card), I fill out a short form, have my mugshot taken, plunk down €24 — €14 for the five-year card and an extra €10 for an initial €12 worth of rides — and in less than five minutes I’m in business and heading for the nearest vaporetto stop to inaugurate my new card.

If you’re planning a visit to Venice, do yourself a huge favor. Log on to the VeneziaUnica website to learn how you can save as a tourist on transfers, water buses, museums, churches and more with your very own, customized City Pass. Just click HERE.

And, me? Why, I’m gliding up the Grand Canal just like a real Venetian, with extra ducats in my pocket to spend on more cicchetti and an ombra, thanks to the discount I now receive using my VeneziaUnica City Pass.

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 49 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

11 comments

  1. For crying out loud! That’s fabulous………..l love the video and that’s a great mug-shot on your Venezia Unica card too. Excellent! Orna

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