Category Archives: Italy Instructions

Travel tips that make all the difference.

Buongiorno, VeneziaUnica (addio, VeniceConnected)

VeneziaUnica is the new portal the offers advance purchase for all passes and services you’ll use while you’re visiting the city. The online portal was activated October 7, 2013, replacing and eventually expanding on other online venues like VeniceConnected, Venicecard, with more likely to shift there in the future.


VeneziaUnica Composer

Just passing through? Use the composer to select, then purchase passes and services for each individual in your travel party, including

• ACTV passes
• museum & church passes (VeniceCard, San Marco Museums, etc.)
• land and water transfers (Aerobus/Alilaguna)
• toilets, wi-fi

with more to be added over time.

Where you retrieve your pass/tickets depends on the service you purchase, it has not changed. What seems to have changed is that services are no longer date specific, which is probably a good thing.

What is misleading from the English description is that they talk about it being a city pass. There is no single card for all services for the traveler; there is a single portal with a “composer” that you can use to purchase a number of services in advance, that you retrieve individually according the services; instructions will be included as they always have.

VeneziaUnica city pass will also replace imob/CartaVenezia (though your imob will act like a VeneziaUnica city pass until it expires): the card is free, the paid services for residents and frequent visitors that may be activated via the city pass are public transport, bike sharing, car sharing (Italian driver’s license required), car parks, wi-fi, etc.


Residents and frequent visitors will be issued free VeneziaUnica cards, then use them to activate paid services such as ACTV services, car park, car sharing,

Your current imob card will act like a VeneziaUnica card until it expires, when it will be replaced with a VeneziaUnica card.


An Italian Train Ticket Online Purchase Alternative

Bootsnall Travel adds a booking option to their portal

Train ticket - Trenitalia‘s Web site has definitely been improving in recent years, and more folks are reporting success with the non-Italian credit card ticket purchase after recent revamping of the payment process.

For people who are still having problems, a ticket booking system now available at Bootsnall Travel (driven by allows you to book Italian train tickets in dollars, using credit card of your choice. This means travelers who don’t have success with the regular TrenItalia site can still purchase tickets in advance and take advantage of significant discounts. Travelers can choose the popular and convenient “ticketless” option through this system: your ticket is issued as an electronic PDF with a PNR reservation code – simply board the train, find your assigned seats, and show the PNR to the conductor when he passes.

Here’s the accompanying article by Jessica Spiegel at Bootsnall.

To book tickets, go first to the site and research routes and costs. It’s comprehensible, manageable and in English, and the best place to determine what your options are. Then, if your credit card isn’t accepted at purchase, hop over to Bootsnall to book. (Railpasses are also available, but be sure to calculate fares: in-country rail passes are rarely a good value unless you’re doing a great deal of high-speed rail travel.)

At the moment, there is an oddly named $5 “shipping” fee associated with any purchase  (but if you’re already saving bunches by by purchasing discounted tickets for a number of travelers, it might be worth it).


To tip or not to tip…

For whatever reason, understanding how and when to tip is one of the Top Ten concerns for Americans as they plan their trip. As I state in Italy: Instructions for Use, the guidelines are the same as for so many things Italian: dipende…it depends. [The contrast to us Americani is endearing: I’d wager that we are the ONLY culture that wants these rules so clearly defined before we head out, determined to be good guests and do exactly the right thing in as many situations as possible…an attitude, of course, that mystifies Italians, who will consistently forgive us and everyone else, whenever necessary, for just not being Italian.]

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Dial + for confident international cell phone dialing.

To always reach the person you’re calling, no matter what type of cell you’re using, who you’re calling. in what country or from what country, always dial or program your cell phone number with the plus “+” sign first, followed by the country code and complete phone number:

+ country_code phone_nbr

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