Ships in Venice
Travel comfortably without queues, buy tickets online beforehand:
Everything that is transported elsewhere in the world by road vehicles is transported on boats in Venice. Instead of buses, there are hundreds of water buses (ferries) that run according to a fixed timetable. All goods have to be delivered by ship. Also special vehicles like taxis. Ambulance, police or garbage collection are only available as watercrafts. For tourists the many different boats in Venice are very interesting.
Large ships can only sail around Venice and not in the canals inside the old town. The small waterways are too narrow, the bridges too low. Medium sized boats can also use wide waterways such as the famous Canal Grande. Only very small boats and gondolas can go into the small canals up to the front door of the inhabitants and shops. Therefore, goods usually have to be reloaded.
Now an overview of various types of ships in Venice:
Water buses (Italian Vaporetti) are the public transport boats of the city of Venice. There are different sizes. The smaller ones (in the picture in front) also go on the Canal Grande and other bigger waterways within the islands. The big ones (in the picture behind) only sail in the open lagoon, thus around Venice, between islands and to the mainland.
In this guide there are several articles about water buses (public ferries), see:
Water taxis are used like taxis on roads. They can either be ordered or simply boarded at taxi stations. Many tourists also take a water taxi from Marco Polo airport to the hotel:
For many ship fans, the gigantic cruise ships are the highlight. During the season, several cruise ships arrive in Venice each day, each carrying several thousand passengers.
The Giga ships are highly controversial in Venice. They cause large, high-energy waves that are supposed to destroy the foundations of Venice. Venice is built on millions of wooden piles. Some cruise ships are no longer allowed to moor directly in the old town. There are also strict speed restrictions for cruise ships near the old town.
Excursion Boats for Tourists
Very often one is also around Venice bigger excursion boats of private companies. These bring tourists to Venice and on day trips to other islands.
A very famous classic in Venice are the gondolas. There are thousands of gondolas. For many vacationers in Venice a romantic gondola ride is the highlight of a Venice trip..
You can find our page about gondolas in Venice here
Our page about the only company in Venice that still produces gondolas can be found here.
For example, there is the police, ambulance and fire brigade. The Venice police also make radar checks, there are exact speed limits for all ships in Venice. Also, one-way channels (such as one-way streets), alcohol at the wheel and much more are frequently controlled by the police.
Rescue ships, fire boats and police ships have, like the vehicles in other cities, blue lights and sirens. This gives them right of way and allows them to go faster.
Also the garbage collection comes with boats. There are even funeral boats instead of hearse.
You can see many smaller cargo ships that supply businesses and shops directly (see picture).
Almost everything is transported by ships. Examples are the goods for the many shops of Venice, the luggage of the tourists and the drinks and food for the restaurants.
Like cars elsewhere, many locals have their own private boat. They use it to go shopping, to work or to visit friends. For this you usually need your own jetty (ship parking lot). But the majority of the inhabitants of Venice go on foot or take a public water bus.