Venice Carnival: Instructions for Use, Chapter One
Venice carnival survival kit
Rule n.1: Avoid it unless you have already booked your accomodation. If you want to visit Venice there are periods when the city is less crowded, the risk of being overcharged is smaller and the chance of enjoying its beauty is much bigger.
Rule n.2: If you really want to be there for Carnival, avoid “red sticker” days: these days the access to the area of st. Mark’s will be limited and a new person counter system will be experimented. In order to know how this will work, stay tuned on the official channel of the City Council, which has not yet released any official information in this respect but will do it soon:
Rule n.3 The most overcrowded days are likely to be: Saturday 27 January, Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 February, and all days between 8th February (“giovedì grasso”) and 13th February (“martedì grasso”).
Water Taxis: yellow, green and red
Water taxis have a yellow identification stripe with the logo of “Comune di Venezia” and their identification number, in addition to a yellow flag at bow; if the flag is green the fares are different (it is a kind of rental service).
The “yellow flag” taxi service is located in Venice island, Lido and from here to the airport (not vice versa from the airport is only green flag).
Golden rule n. 1 is: ask for the price in advance, rather than getting lost in this colourful jungle.
Golden rule n. 2: be aware that not all taxis accept credit cards, so ask them in advance or be prepared to pay cash!
The service is very reliable and, contrary to most cities in the world, it is unlikely to be affected (delayed) by traffic jams or traffic lights.
There are two types of fares:
a) set fares between taxi stations;
b) meter: if the place where you start/end is not a taxi station. In this case a set fare is applied with a supplement.
If there are more than 4 passengers, if there are many suitcases and for night service an extra supplement will be applied on the fare indicated on the meter, that is placed behind the door of the taxi. There are 14 taxi stations, these in addition to set fares can be found on the following website:
- If the bow flag is green it is a different taxi service and the price is negotiable. It is important to ask for the price in advance in order not to get ripped off. There is no taxi station at the airport so green flag taxis are the only ones available.
- Red flags are those of taxi drivers who got the licence in another Municipality; they can bring you to Venice from those municipalities but are not allowed to operate as taxi drivers inside the City.
- Final tip: there is nothing comparable to “Uber” in Venice (by the way, for local laws it would be illegal) and unauthorized taxis are by far much less frequent than in most other cities (with the possible exception of the Tronchetto island which is still kind of borderline): when you land at the airport, for instance, you will simply not be bothered by them and the local police are very strict in enforcing this rule.
- Last but not least: speed limits in Venice are not an option: the faster the boat the bigger the waves, and the waves can damage our precious stones. Therefore don’t ask your taxi driver to run faster.. and if he runs too fast you might gently tell him: “could you please slow down, I would like to enjoy the view”.