Venice at night

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During the day the islands of The Venice Lagoon are bustling with tourists, but at night they become your own. The moon and lamp posts reflect their light on the waters of the canal and the beauty of the historical buildings create a calm ambiance to explore in the stillness of the evening.

The quiet is only broken by an occasional splash from a local boat or gondola as you stroll along (and over) the canals which flow under over 400 bridges and 118 islands. Get up early and beat the rush then nap the afternoon away so you can stay out late and have the town all to yourself. (Travel tips at the bottom of the photos).

On this trip I decided to stay at the Hilton Stuckey on the small island of Giudecca which is directly across from the more known sections of Venice.

The Hilton provides its own water bus shuttle which runs every 20 minutes. It connects San Marcos Square and Zattere with the hotel through a private boat. You pay when you check out, no tickets required. They ask you if you’ve used the shuttle and if you have then the cost is 7.50 Euros for your entire stay (for each guest who used the shuttle). A great price for a private boat for hotel guests use only. It was mostly empty the entire time I used it (October and November). They are on time to the minute so they’re easy to catch.

From those stops you can hop on the public ACTV lines or the Alilaguna which costs more than the ACTV but is less crowded. I bought tickets to both.

Be careful when purchasing passes for the ACTV in advance. There is a discount to buy multiple day passes but if you bend yours or activate it early they are clear that they couldn’t care less.

I purchased a one day pass and a 7 day pass on the internet in advance of my trip. I printed both at the airport (there is a machine which easily scans the code generated when you pay online). When you print the ticket it is “activated” and the clock starts ticking from that moment exactly.

I landed in Venice and used the one day card and when I returned a week later to use the 7 day pass it wouldn’t work. I asked at the ACTV booth why and she said I printed it which “activates” the card. I explained I wasn’t aware of that and showed both receipts. She was mean and yelled that I “made a mistake” and it was “too bad” and that I should “pay” for mistakes. Wow, no love lost to the tourists. I bought another card but definitely didn’t feel too welcome (Venice is over touristed and this is also the public “bus” for locals). You’ve been warned.

Try to visit off season and stay inside during the peak afternoon travel hours (cruse ship visiting hours). It’s even busy during October and November when the flooding hits (which is fun to see).

Venice is so beautiful that is is worth a visit but try to avoid the peak times of travel. Don’t forget that even the Italians visit Venice on the weekends and Catholic holidays. Time your trip properly and you can still enjoy the beauty, art and history of these islands.

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