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Vaporetto dell'Arte

Venice's 'hop on, hop off' sightseeing boat

Vaporetto dell'Arte on Grand Canal

ABOVE: A Vaporetto dell'Arte water bus on the Grand Canal. INSET BELOW: A boat in St. Mark's Basin, and a "VA" route sign at Ferrovia, which has a number of vaporetto platforms.

Archived article

The Vaporetto dell'Arte's service was suspended in October, 2013.

In June, 2012, the city of Venice and its marketing partners introduced a new "hop on, hop off" waterbus line called the Vaporetto dell'Arte.

The idea behind the boat was to reduce crowding on Venice's public ACTV vaporetto network while promoting museums and other cultural attractions along the route.

Vaporetto dell'Arte in St. Mark's BasinThe VA line has nine or 10 stops, depending on the time of year. It starts at Ferrovia (a.k.a. Venice's Santa Lucia Railroad Station) and works its way up the Grand Canal, stopping at or near the Accademia Galleries, the Salute Church, the Piazza San Marco, the island church of San Giorgio Maggiore, and the Naval Museum at Arsenale. When the Biennale art or architectural exposition is open, the line has an additional stop at Giardini.

Vaporetto dell'Arte 'VA' route signWith your Vaporetto dell'Arte ticket, you can get on or off the avocado-green VA boats as often as you like during your ticket's period of validity. Benefits of using the boat include:

  • Less crowding than on regular water buses, especially during peak season or on holiday weekends.

  • Audiovisual presentations on the boats that are keyed to the various stops.

  • Concessions and discounts from the Vaporetto dell'Arte's museums and other partners.

Now for the bad news:

  • The basic fare is stunningly high: €24 for a regular adult ticket, which is valid for 24 hours from the time you first use it. Children from ages 6-11 pay €15, which is also the fare for wheelchair users. (The latter get to bring a companion free of charge.)

  • The boat runs at 30-minute intervals from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Ferrovia to Giardini) or 9:43 p.m. to 7:43 p.m. (Giardini to Ferrovia). Venice is a small city, so--unless you're a slow walker--you can walk from place far more quickly than you can travel with the Vaporetto dell'Arte.

  • The Vaporetto dell'Arte ticket is valid only on the avocado-green "hop on, hop off" water buses. If you want to ride a public vaporetto, you'll need to buy a separate ticket.

Still, the Vaporetto dell'Arte may be worth considering if you're already buying a time-delineated Tourist Travel Card for the ACTV public waterbus network. Here's why:

  • When you buy a 12-hour to 7-day Tourist Travel Card, you can add the Vaporetto dell'Arte for only 10 euros. Even better, your Vaporetto dell'Arte ticket will be valid for the duration of your Tourist Travel Card. (The €10 price and extended validity also apply to visitors from ages 14-29 who are using the 3-day Rolling Venice Card.)

Bottom line: If you're buying a Tourist Travel Card for a few days or a week, the extra €10 for the Vaporetto dell'Arte may be worthwhile. Otherwise, the Vaporetto dell'Arte card isn't likely to be a good value.

BELOW: Click the "play" arrow to watch a 51-second video of the Vaporetto dell'Arte on the Grand Canal.

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden has written about Venice, Italy since 1996. He covered Venice and European travel at for 4-1/2 years before launching Europe for Visitors (including Venice for Visitors) with Cheryl Imboden in 2001.

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