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Venice's mainland district of Mestre, at the foot of the causeway that leads to the centro storico or historic center, has long been popular as a base camp for day trips to Venice. Depending on your budget and mode of transportation, you may find Mestre appealing for two reasons:
Hotels in Mestre tend to be cheaper than hotels in Venice's historic center.
Mestre is car-friendly, which means you can park at your hotel and commute into the city center by public transportation.
Until recently, the most convenient ways to reach Venice from Mestre were by train (see our "Mestre to Venice by Train" article) or by ACTV city buses.
Now there's a third option: The ACTV's , which entered service in September, 2015 and runs directly from the northern edge of downtown Mestre to Piazzale Roma on the edge of Venice's car-free historic center. (See map.)
The tram is convenient you're staying at a hotel near the section of the T1 (red) line between the Piazzale Cialdini and Forte Marghera, which runs mostly along a major street called the Via San Marco. Click here for hotel listings.
From our recommended hotels, you can reach Piazzale Roma in about 15 to 20 minutes, with trams running at 10-minute intervals throughout most of the day.
You don't need special tickets to ride the tram. Just buy ordinary (and cheap) bus tickets from ACTV offices or vending machines, your hotel receptionist, tobacco shops, and newsstands. (One ticket can hold multiple fares, so don't be surprised if you ask for several biglietti and receive only one lightweight cardboard card.)
To ride the tram, board via any set of doors and immediately hold your ticket against the nearest electronic reader until you see a green light flash and hear a "beep." Be sure to do this, since you can be fined heavily for riding without a validated ticket.
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