The most central tourist office lies in the arcade at the western end of Piazza San Marco (Calle Larga de l’Ascensione 71F), near Museo Correr (daily 9am–7pm; tel. 041/2424). There are also offices at Piazzale Roma (inside the Autorimessa Comunale garage; daily 7am–8pm), the train station (opposite platform 2; daily 7am–9pm), and in the arrivals hall at Marco Polo Airport (daily 8:30am–7pm).
The info-packed monthly Un Ospite di Venezia (www.unospitedivenezia.it) is a useful source of information (published in Italian and English); most hotels have free copies. Also useful is VeNews (www.venezianews.it), a monthly sold at newsstands all over the city (also in English and Italian).
The city's official tourist-board site is www.veneziaunica.it; the official site of the city government (also full of good resources) is www.comune.venezia.it. A good privately maintained site is Meeting Venice (www.meetingvenice.it).
Venice offers a somewhat bewildering range of passes and discount cards. For short stays, we recommend buying an ACTV travel card and combining that with one of the first two passes listed below. The more complex Venezia Unica card scheme is convenient once you’ve worked out what you want online, and is recommended if you intend to stay up to 7 days and do a lot of sightseeing. The Venezia Unica website (www.veneziaunica.it) is a one-stop shop for all the passes listed below.
The Museum Pass (www.vivaticket.it) grants admission to all the city-run museums over a 6-month period—it also lets you skip any ticketing lines, a useful perk in high season. The pass includes the museums of St. Mark’s Square—Palazzo Ducale, Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, and the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana—as well as the Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo (Costume Museum), the Ca’ Rezzonico, the Ca’ Pesaro, the Museo del Vetro (Glass Museum) on Murano, and the Museo del Merletto (Lace Museum) on Burano. The Museum Pass is available online (for an extra 0.50€), or at any of the participating museums and costs 24€ for adults, and 18€ for students under 30 and kids ages 6 to 14. It’s a good deal, as the Doge’s Palace will set you back 20€ alone; visit one more major museum (the Ca’ Rezzonico and Ca’ Pesaro are both 10€ each) and you’ve made a decent saving.
If churches are your interest, consider the Chorus Pass (www.chorusvenezia.org), which grants admission to almost every major church in Venice, 18 in all, for 12€ (8€ for students under 30), for up to 1 year. For 24€, the Chorus Pass Family gives you the same perks for two adults and their children up to 18 years old. Most churches charge 3€ admission, which means you’ll need to visit more than four to make this pass worthwhile.
The Venezia Unica card (www.veneziaunica.it) combines the above passes, transport, discounts, and even Internet access on one card via a “made-to-order” online system, where you choose the services you want. The most useful option is the City Pass, which combines the Museum Pass and Chorus Pass plus free entry to the Jewish Museum and discounts on temporary exhibits for 39.90€ for 7 days (29.90€ for ages 6–29). Assuming you visit the Doge’s Palace, a couple of major city museums, the Jewish Museum, and more than four churches, this should save you 20€ or more. You can also buy various transportation packages and Wi-Fi access (from 5€ for 24 hr.). Once you’ve paid, you simply print out a voucher to use at museums and sights in Venice; to use public transport you must collect tickets by entering your booking code at one of the ACTV automatic ticket machines or by visiting one of the official Points of Sale in in the city, including one in the train station (open 7am–9pm) and at the Rialto vaporetto stop (open 7am–11pm).
Also, for visitors between the ages of 6 and 29, there is the Rolling Venice card (also available at www.veneziaunica.it). It’s valid until the end of the year in which you buy it, costs just 6€, and entitles the bearer to significant (20%–30%) discounts at participating restaurants (but applies only to cardholder’s meal) and a similar discount on ACTV travel cards (22€ for 3 days). Holders of the Rolling Venice card also get discounts at museums, stores, language courses, hotels, and bars across the city (it comes with a thick booklet listing everywhere that you’re entitled to get discounts).