Day to Day Information


Not really an issue if you're from the UK and the USA because everyone seems to speak English to a greater or lesser degree. So, as ever, we can be lazy (!). 
Tourist Office 

It's quite easy to miss this office as it blends in with the surrounding buildings and the signage isn't that clear. It is situated at 71/f, San Marco, 30124. With your back to the Basilica in St Mark's Square walk down the left hand covered walkway of the square past the famous Florien cafe, continue to the very end and the door is on your left. Enter the address above into Google Maps for a visual indication.

There are other offices dotted around but this is the most central

Helpful staff and a good selection of book, guides and gifts. 
Venice Connected 

There is a relatively new service available from that enables you to purchase tickets for various services and attractions before you arrive in Venice and at a discounted price. Effectively you can buy discounted tickets for the water bus (vaporetto) services, museum passes, wi-fi access, WC access, airport transfers and casino access. This service has replaced the old Venice Connect card 
The way it works is that you go here and register and then purchase the services you want (and the timescale you want them for). You then receive a Passenger Name Record by email (PNR - this is aviation/airport speak) which you take to a VeniceConnected Office when you arrive (there is a list here) and receive the relevant passes. Registration has to be done at least 7 days in advance of your arrival in Venice in order to receive the dicounted prices. Casino entry come free if you purchase any of the other services. 
This is a good way to save money. I used the service for the first time in October 2009 and again in February 2011. I registered for a 72 hour ACTV travel pass and internet access. My internet access codes arrived by email about a week before my departure and proved to be all correct on using them in Venice (but see my comments on WiFi below). 
On arrival at Marco Polo airport I made my way to the HelloVenezia desk (to your right as you enter the Arrivals Hall from Customs) and within three minutes had my travel pass. There were only three people in the queue as it was a Sunday evening so things may slow down at other times. The paperwork you need is simply the email voucher they send you at the time you register and pay. 
You can also pick up tickets at the blue ticket machines to be found at various vaporetto stops. It is a touch screen service whereby you select the VeniceConnected option and enter your order code and the tickets get printed on the spot. 
All in all, a very impressive service adding to the value of the tourist travel pass. 

You're never too far from a loo in the more popular areas. Clean and well attended, you should expect to pay €1.50 in the machine that lets you in. My favourites (do I mean that?) are at the Western end of St Mark's Square ie at the opposite end to the Basilica, adjacent to the Tourist office and at the Rialto Market. Once away from the main areas the "WC" signs are not so prevalent. For discounted WC access, see above. 
I probably shouldn't be telling you this but if you're caught short and are near the Ca' Rezzonica, there are loos in the lobby area that are free. 

Most of the better hotels have some form of internet access either from a dedicated terminal in the lobby or through the provision of connections in individual rooms. Also there are internet cafes to be found all around the City. Charges, as ever, vary with hotels the most expensive eg €15 Euros for 24 hours (err, I don't need that) to around €2-3 for 30 minutes in an internet cafe. 
The great news is that the amazing new wi-fi project for the city is now underway. This is an ambitious project designed to bring wi-fi and associated services to the city and the lagoon. As far as I can ascertain, wi-fi services are available down the whole length of the Grand Canal and in all popular tourist haunts such as Piazza San Marco and San Stefano. The whole project has involved the laying of 10,000 kms of cable as it is hoped that it will enable the removal of many of the television and other antennae that adorn the historic buildings. Speeds are said to be an impressive 20 Mbits and enable surfing whilst on the vaporetti. 
For residents, the service is free, all others pay around €6.50 per day. Access codes are available from as described above or you can register online as with most hotel type access. 
(February 2011) Ok. An update. The service works fine and, as promised, access is all down the Canal and in the tourist hotspots. However, I discovered some issues. Firstly, sitting in one of the vaparetto stops on the Grand Canal, I had great access to the Net with good speeds and signal strength on both laptop and iPhone. However, the service was less friendly on the way down the Canal as the signal dropped out a couple of times and you are a bit conspicuous as no-one else seems to be using the service on the bus. 
Next, yes you can use it in all of the major squares but where in the the squares? Have you noticed the absence of public seating in places like San Stefano and San Marco? Indeed, in San Marco you are positively discouraged from sitting down on the steps. So, your only option is to take a cup of coffee. Bearing in mind that your weekly WiFi access has cost you a very reasonable €7-8 (the deal from VeniceConnected), the value gets washed away as you fork out €10 for your drink. No worries you say, "I'll use it in the hotel". Not possible, as the signal map does not extend into your "dwelling". I ended up balancing my laptop on a capped off waterwell in a busy campo to access my mail and didn't feel very comfortable. 
The answer? I think the service needs to adopt a bit of creative systems thinking. It's more use in the quiet Campos than it is in the tourist hotspots. All said, if, like me, you need your Net access then the VeniceConnected WiFi option is something it's worth investing in. 
Postal Addresses 

I've included the postal addresses of various establishments in this Guide. Over to you and good luck. I was once told that the only people who truly have a grip on the system are the postmen and having tried to find a private house occasionally, I think that is probably right. 
The system goes something like this. The address consists of a number and the district it is in eg 4549 San Polo. As you walk along a street the house numbers increase by one until you come to an alleyway. Turn into the alleyway and the numbers continue sequentially. Get to the bottom, turn around and the numbers continue back up on the other side to the original street. Get to the original street, turn left and the numbers continue. Make sense? Great for exploring! 
Acqua Alta (High Water) 

Between Autumn and early Spring it is quite common for Venice to suffer from flooding. This is as a result of high tides in the Adriatic and the effect of prevailing winds such as the scirocco. Generally the water only reaches a few inches and the Venice authorities provide duckboards on which to walk. You can also purchase relatively cheap wellies/gumboots from a variety of stores. Details of the areas most affected can be found on posters around the City and certainly within the various vaporetto stops. 
Occasionally, the situation becomes much worse as evidenced in 2008 when the waters reached 4ft in Piazza San Marco and in 1966 the water reached heights of over 6ft. In those conditions the only use for the duckboards is as rafts or surfboards (no kids, I'm joking). 
If you find yourself in Venice during the mild floods, please use the duckboards carefully and with respect for your fellow walkers. 
Currency Exchange 

The currency of Venice is the Euro. The deals on currency are constantly changing but I find the rates of exchange in the dedicated offices awful and the commission charges obscene. My advice would be to use your debit or credit card in the bank ATMs that are to be found all over. That said, please avoid Euronet machines and cubicles as they are dreadfully expesive with both high conversion rates and a transaction fee. Best rates are to be found at Postamat machines at a Post Office or Bancomat machines. You'll still be paying commission but probably less than the exchange offices. If you do use the currency exchange offices remember to take your passport or a recognised ID card. 
Left Luggage 

Venice is not well served in this department. It is not a problem if staying in hotels which will usually store your luggage while you pick up last minute shopping on your last day but it is inconvenient if you are staying in an apartment. There are, to my knowledge, only two left luggage offices in the City. One is situated in Santa Lucia rail terminal, the other is at the vaporetto stop at Piazzale Roma. Look for "Deposito Bagagli" 


The following telephone numbers put you in touch with the main emergency services: 
Police - 112 
Fire - 115 
Ambulance - 118 
Venice's main hospital is the Ospedale Civile situated between the Campo Santi Giovanni e Paulo and the Fondamente Nuove. For consultations with a general practitioner, you are best advised to arrange this through your hotel.