Venice has many welcome money-saving tickets, passes and schemes, but they can be tricky to get your head round. Make sure you do your homework before you set off as some venues only allow access with some of them mentioned below.
The on-line Venice Connected (www.veniceconnected.com) service allows you to pre-book and pre-pay transport passes, tickets for civic museums and public toilets (yes, that’s no joke) with variable discounts. You must book at least one week before you arrive; any later, and you pay full price.
Administered by Hellovenezia (041 2424, www.hellovenezia.it), the Venice Card is a three-day (€73, €66 reductions) or seven-day (€96, €87 reductions) pass covering vaporetto use and free entrance to civic museums and all Chorus churches (see below), plus discounts elsewhere.
A pricier version also includes the Alilaguna boat service to/from the airport. You can buy your card at tourist offices in Venice, at Treviso airport or by calling 041 2424 and picking it up on arrival. Under-5s travel free with a Venice Card-holder.
Hellovenezia shops and booths can be found at the airport and train station, in piazzale Roma and at most vaporetto stops. Outlets at the larger stops (Accademia, Rialto, San Marco Vallaresso, San Zaccaria) sell Venice Card passes; those at the train station, Tronchetto and piazzale Roma also sell tickets for events.
The transport-only Venice Card is not as good a deal as a standard transit pass (ATVO 0421 383 671, www.atvo.it). There has been talk of fusing the Venice Card with Venice Connected.
Hellovenezia also offers the Rolling Venice card (€4) which gives hotel, restaurant and transport discounts to 14- to 29-year-olds.
The Museums of St Mark’s Square pass
The Museums of St Mark’s Square pass (€13, €7.50 reductions) covers the Doge’s Palace and the Museo Correr trio of museums, plus one other civic museum of your choice (but not St Mark’s basilica).
Venice’s civic museums’ Museum Pass (www.museiciviciveneziani.it) includes the above plus six further attractions, including Ca’ Rezzonico. It costs €18 (€12 reductions) and is available at all participating sights. Both are valid for single entry for six months.
The Gallerie dell’Accademia, Ca’ d’Oro and Museo Orientale can be visited on the State Museums ticket at €11 (€5.50 reductions), available from participating sights.
The museums around piazza San Marco (but not the paying parts of the basilica) can only be visited on a multi-entrance ticket. The full-price Musei di Piazza San Marco ticket costs €12 (€6.50 reductions) and can be bought at the sights themselves.
Sixteen of Venice’s churches belong to the Chorus scheme (www.chorus.org). A year-long pass, valid for one visit to each, costs €9 (€6 reductions) and can be purchased in churches and at Hellovenezia outlets (see above).
The national gay rights group ArciGay (www.arcigay.it) sponsors activities, festivals, counselling and AIDS awareness. ArciGay membership (€15) is needed to enter several venues listed below; this can be purchased at the door of venues requiring it.
Tickets for concerts and performances can usually be purchased at theatre box offices immediately prior to shows; the tourist information office near piazza San Marco (see p305) and Hellovenezia offices (see above) sell tickets for ‘serious’ events; most travel agents and hotel receptions will obtain tickets for classical music concerts.
For high-profile or first-night productions at prestigious venues such as La Fenice, Teatro Carlo Goldoni, Teatro Malibran or Teatro Toniolo, the limited number of seats not taken by season-ticket holders will sell out days or even weeks in advance: tickets should be reserved at the theatres themselves or on their websites at least ten days before performances.
Local newspapers Il Gazzettino and La Nuova Venezia carry listings of theatrical events, as does the bilingual monthly Venews.
Day-to-day listings are carried by the two local papers, Il Gazzettino and La Nuova Venezia. For a fuller overview of concerts and festivals, with English translations, monthly listings magazine Venews is indispensable. Also keep your eyes peeled for posters advertising upcoming gigs and events. Tickets are usually available at the venue but in some cases they can be bought in advance at the CD shop Parole e Musica, Castello 5673, salizada San Lio (041 521 2215) or via the national ticket agency www.boxol.it.