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.
As 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.
Flashing 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