Venice is a city shaped by the sea, as its traditions keep reminding us. A maritime republic, a place breathing saltiness or, in Tiziano Scarpa’s words, “a fish”.
Venice is a fish which chose to live in the Adriatic Sea, happily wallowing in its Italian home. A fish that was however caught, tied to the land by a leash. I’m talking about Ponte della Libertà, the bridge connecting the old town to the mainland, opened back in 1933 by Benito Mussolini. Undoubtedly handy, the bridge grants a pleasing arrival, as you can see from this short clip from the film “Summertime”(minutes 1:14 to 2:30):
Nonetheless, as Thomas Mann said in “Death in Venice”, Ponte della Libertà is nothing but the back door to Venice. The real pearl, the majestic entrance that princes, kings, nobles from all over the world first saw when visiting was the basin of San Marco. But how can you see Venice today from its grand entrance?
Luckily enough, it’s quite simple. If you’re flying to the city(careful, not to Marco Polo airport because it’s about an hour’s bus ride from Venice), you can take a waterbus from Venice airport.
Let’s start from the beginning. Once arrived at Venice airport, head to the exit and turn left. What you need to do is to follow the directions for “Darsena” and in you’ll end up to a series of docks in a white structure.
The waterbus service is given by Alilaguna, which offers several lines reaching different spots of the city. As you can see in the picture below, I got a ticket for the Blue line because I had to get off at the “Zattere” stop. Here you can find Alilaguna’s lines and their timetables, whereas here you have the information concerning their fares. As you can see from my ticket, I’ve got a special discount linked to the possession of “CartaVenezia”, a card owned mostly by residents and students of Venice. Being a tourist, you’re likely to pay around 15 euros for you 45-minute-long ride to the lagoon and the chance to see a postcard-Venice in your first meeting with it.
Having tried it myself after a trip to Belgium, I guarantee that it’s totally worth it and you won’t regret it!
Listen to my advice though: keep the windows as closed as possible, at least when passing next to another boat, since you’ll probably get flooded from head to toe! I speak from experience, you see the lovely lady here? She desperately wanted the window open and well… she certainly experienced a bit of Venetian water (myself too alas!).
What are you waiting for?! This view is waiting for you!
In case you couldn’t reach Venice by boat, you could always take a vaporetto, to the islands for instance, or try a traghetto(an extremely cheap gondola to cross the Grand Canal) and see Venice from another perspective, from the perspective the city was born for!
Last but not least… have fun!