From: Venezia Unica
Before going to the Hellovenezia office, gather the items that you'll need to submit your application for the Venezia Unica card:
40 euros in cash, or a credit card such as Visa or MasterCard.
Note: In the past, you needed to supply your own passport-size photo. This is no longer necessary. (Your photo will be taken when you apply for the card. At smaller Hellovenezia ticket offices, the agent may simply photograph the picture in your passport.)
In the Piazzale Roma, head for the small tile-roofed building with the blue-and-white "Actv" signs. (Actv, or ACTV, is the public-transit agency in Venice.)
Go inside the building to the Hellovenezia office, which you can enter from the street or via the ramp on the right side of the photo above.
Inside the Hellovenezia office, you'll see a machine that dispenses numbered tickets. Press the button for a ticket with a letter and a number (ours was "C79").
Take the ticket from the receptacle on the bottom of the machine and wait until your number appears on one of the electronic signs above the ticket windows.
When you see your number on a sign, go to that window.
At the window, you'll be given a form in Italian to fill out. You'll also need to give your passport to the clerk.
Without leaving the window, fill out the first section of the application form, which asks for your:
Nome (first name)
Codice fiscale (ignore this unless you live in Italy)
Data di nascita (date of birth in DD/MM/YYYY format)
Comune d nascita (city of birth)
Indirizzo di rezidenza (permanent home address)
Località (you can leave this line blank)
Comune (city or town)
Provincia (province or state)
Telefono fisso (landline telephone)
Telefono cellure (cellular or mobile phone)
E-mail (your e-mail address)
Sign and date the form on the two "firma obbligatoria" lines in the bottom half of the page, then hand the completed form to the clerk.
A reader has told us, that when she bought her card, she didn't need to complete the form: The clerk simply photocopied her passport's ID pages. That hasn't been our experience at either of the two Hellovenezia offices that we've used (Piazzale Roma and the Lido), but if the clerk doesn't require you to fill in a form, don't argue--just accept your Carta Unica and say "Grazie."
The clerk will accept your completed application form, take your photo or copy your passport's photo with a computer camera, enter your data into a computer, and---within a minute or two--give you an Venezia Unica "smart card" with your photo, name, card number, and the card's expiration date on the front.
Turn the heavy plastic card over, and you'll see that a microchip is embedded in the back. This chip contains your Venezia Unica account information and any stored value that you add to the card (such as prepaid electronic "tickets" or a monthly pass).
If you wish, you can recharge your card with tickets (biglietti) or a pass (abbonamento) immediately at the office where you bought your card. Alternatively, you can buy tickets and passes at other ACTV ticket booths and machines, Hellovenezia offices,or authorized dealers such as tabaccherie (tobacconists), edicole (newsstands) and bars. You can even recharge your card online.
To use the Venezia Unica stored-value card, hold it within 6 cm (about 2½ inches) of the grey-and-white electronic card reader at any waterbus stop. When you hear a beep and the reader dispays the message "Buon Viaggio," you're ready to travel.
To check how many rides are left on your card, press the "?" key, hold your card next to the machine's sensor within three seconds, and wait for the machine to flash yellow. The machine's electronic display will show the number of fares and their expiration dates.
ACTV boats and land buses have a separate fare scheme, and stored-value boat tickets aren't valid on buses. (However, you can purchase electronic land-bus tickets and carnets for your imob card.)
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Photo copyright © Lee Pettet.