Piazzale Roma Bus Terminal
Piazzale Roma Bus Terminal, links the historic city of Venice to the mainland via the “Ponte della Libertà” road bridge. It is located on the south bank of the Grand Canal, close to its western end; in the district of Santa Croce.
Piazzale Roma, allows access to motor vehicles (buses, cars, taxis) and also local trams from Mestre. Within the square is also the “Venice People Mover”: an overhead public transit system, operating since 2010 and connecting Piazzale Roma to the Marittima cruise ship port and Tronchetto island. The latter allows more extensive car parking facilities, than found in Piazzale Roma; which can get very congested in high season and during major festivals and events.
The square is very close to the main Santa Lucia Train Station, on the north bank of the Grand Canal and linked by the “Ponte della Costituzione” (or “Calatrava Bridge”); a modern footbridge, installed in 2008.
The six Vaporetto waterbus landing stages at Piazzale Roma, are located along the Fondamenta S. Chiara running westward; from the foot of the Constitution Bridge.
Entering the Piazzale Roma Bus Terminal, by the Constitution Bridge from the vicinity of the Santa Lucia Train Station. You can see the ACTV local buses in the mid-ground, with the tram terminal above them to the left and the ATVO longer distance buses behind. On the right is the large white car parking building. The steps in the foreground, lead down to the six Vaporetto stops on the south bank of the Grand Canal.
Piazzale Roma Bus Terminal – Introduction
The historic centre of Venice is linked to the mainland by road and rail bridges that run close together across the lagoon.
The railway bridge, opened under Austrian occupation in 1846, was Venice’s first physical connection with the mainland. It has two tracks each way.
In 1932, a road bridge was constructed alongside, to a design by engineer Eugenio Miozzi (1889-1979) and was opened by Benito Mussolini in 1933 as “Ponte Littorio” (“Lictor’s bridge”); a name used during the Fascist era for several other Italian bridges. At the end of World War 2, it was renamed “Ponte della Libertà”; to honour the end of the Fascist dictatorship and of the Nazi occupation.
On the mainland, road networks feed into the “Via Libertà”, which divides the Metropolitan City of Venice’s mainland boroughs (municipalità) of Mestre and Marghera; entering the lagoon as the Ponte della Libertà.
The road bridge is 3.85 km (2.39m) long and has two lanes each way, one of which includes a single tram track; but has no emergency lane. There is also a pedestrian and cycle path on one side.
As the combined road and rail bridge approaches the historic centre of Venice from the mainland; the road bridge splits away from the rail bridge. The railway link terminates at the Santa Lucia Train Station on the north bank of the Grand Canal; whilst the road link, basically splits and feeds into three well defined areas, on the south bank, as seen on the map below:
- The Piazzale Roma Bus Terminal. Local and longer distance buses, cars and local trams from Mestre. Car parking facilities, often overwhelmed in high season. Access station to the “Venice People Mover” system, operating since 2010 and connecting Piazzale Roma to the Marittima cruise ship terminal and Tronchetto Island, with more extensive car parking facilities. The system is free of charge and takes only minutes between stops.
- The Marittima Cruise Ship Port Complex. Serving Tour and Cruise company coaches and taxi services.
- The Tronchetto Car Parking Island. More extensive parking facilities and recommended during the high season, festivals and major events. Serves as a more convenient dropping-off point for tour operations.
If you fly to Venice and land in Marco Polo Airport or Treviso Airport and take a bus or taxi to the heart of the city, you will arrive in the Piazzale Roma. Moreover, if you are staying (or just parking) in Mestre; the bus and local tram service to Venice, terminates in the square.
Those who arrive via Marco Polo International Airport, have the alternative choice of getting to Venice by public waterbus or private water taxi (expensive, unless you can share the cost). The waterbus service is slower (airport to St Mark’s Square is about one and a half hours); but is a much more romantic and visual experience.
Apart from tourists, something like 85,000 workers, commute by rail, road and boat services, into the historic city centre every day; mostly to service the tourist industry. The cost of housing, rentals and maintenance in the historic city, is just prohibitive for most people and the car-free environment also too restrictive.
Piazzale Roma Bus Terminal – Layout and Facilities
Public transport buses and taxis from the mainland and both local airports (Marco Polo and Treviso); as well local Mestre trams; terminate in the Piazzale Roma.
It is a large open space roughly square in proportion. To fully appreciate the services and facilities, it is best to consider it as having a large central space and four sides: north, east, west and south.
The central open space.
In the centre of the square, are the trams stops (local services to and from Mestre), to the north-east and close to the Constitution bridge are the taxi ranks. The buses park in defined spaces in the square.
There are two bus operators:
ACTV, run more local services to the mainland and also a service to the Marco Polo airport. They tend to be located on the northern side closer to the Grand Canal. The ACTV ticket office is in the north boundary buildings; close to the Vaporetto stops and Constitution Bridge. There are various self-service ticket points around the square.
ATVO with larger often blue buses, run more longer distance services and also serve Treviso (budget operators) and Marco Polo airports. Their airport buses, generally park on the southern side of the square. Their ATVO ticket office is situated in the large white car parking building, to the western boundary of the Piazzale Roma.
Note. You need to buy all tickets in advance and present them on boarding.
On the northern side.
You can cross the Grand Canal by the modern Constitution Bridge where the Santa Lucia Train Station, is located. On the south bank of the Grand Canal, behind a series of buildings are the six stations of the “Piazzale Roma Vaporetto” waterbus. Just to the right of the bridge is the Hotel Santa Chiara; one of four in the Piazzale Roma. Just to the left is the ACTV Ticket Office. There is also an office of “Venezia Unica” (ACTV travel tickets and season tickets – Maps – City Pass, Museums, Churches, Tours – Alilaguna boat services – open 7 am – 9:00 pm).
There is also a Co-op supermarket along the waterfront, which is open seven days a week and also a Post Office; which has later postal collections, than most post boxes in Venice.
On the western side.
This side is dominated by a large white multi-storey car park building, the “autorimessa” also called the Garage Comunale ASM. A significant work of architecture and much-praised in its time; when it opened in the 1930’s; it was the largest multi-storey car park in the world. It was also designed by Eugenio Miozzi.
(Note. Parking at Tronchetto is easier than struggling with the confusion at the Piazzale Roma; at least on weekends or in high season, when queue lines can be horrific).
This building contains, the Tourist Information Office. The multi-lingual staff will be able to provide helpful advice and directions, as well as selling you a map, a travelcard or one of the city’s various tourist cards. Ask if you want ‘what’s on’ listings or additional leaflets – for example they stock a map of the northern lagoon which is useful if you’re exploring the islands. Also in the building is a Baggage Depository, a Police Point and a Car Rental Office.
On the southern corner of the building, is the Piazzale Roma station, of the “Venice People Mover”; a small-scale automated guideway public transit system. It connects the Piazzale Roma, with the Marittima Cruise station of the Port of Venice and the Tronchetto island car parking facility.
The line was built by a consortium, led by the Austrian Doppelmayr Cable Car company. The system’s two four-car trains, are pulled by a cable similar to a funicular; but with shallow gradients track, rising approximately 5-6.2% over its course.
The whole 870-metre-long (0.5 mi) journey takes just over three minutes. Each of the two trains can accommodate 200 passengers.
In mid-2019, the fare was €1.50. An unused ACTV land-bus ticket, can be validated; instead of paying the fare.
On the southern side.
There is also another car parking garage – the “San Marco”. Here, you can find three more hotels: the “Ca’ Doge”, the “Casanova Fourrooms” and the “AC Hotel Venezia”. All are very convenient if you need a hotel close to the Cruise Port. Satisfy yourself that your rooms will be not too noisy, when deciding where to stay.
There are many hotels in the area available, from budget to luxury and can be seen and booked through many tourist information sites. Two are shown for your convenience, at the bottom of the page, in the links section.
On the Eastern side.
This side is a tree-lined area, backing on to the Rio Nuovo canal, that feeds into the Grand Canal; next to the Hotel Santa Chiara and the Constitution Bridge (photo below).
Along this eastern side of the square are three small bridges, over the canal; where you can also find water taxi points. The first bridge, next to the Grand Canal; brings you into the “Giardini Papadopoli” a small green and tree covered park. Walking eastwards on the southern side of the Grand Canal; brings you to the Ponte degli Scalzi; opposite the Santa Lucia Train Station. The other two small bridges, leads you through the district of Santa Croce, into either the Dorsoduro or San Polo districts. Walking east you would eventually hit the Grand Canal; with the district of San Marco across the water.
Piazzale Roma Vaporetto Landing Stages
The main public transport waterbus routes depart in all directions and for all destinations, along the Grand Canal or down the Giudecca Canal, or the outer circle waterbus routes going around Venice either in a clockwise or anticlockwise directions.
- S.Chiara ‘G’. Waterbus route No. 2 via the Giudecca Canal to St. Mark’s Square, (night service is provided by route ‘N’).
- S. Chiara ‘F’. Waterbus route No. 2 via the Grand Canal in the direction of Rialto and St. Mark’s Square (during the summer it proceeds all the way to the Lido). Night service is provided by route ‘N’ at this stop.
- Parisi ‘E’. Serves outer circle routes No. 4.1 (direction Giudecca/San Marco), No. 5.1 (direction Lido) and No. 6.
- Landing stage ‘D’. is the point of departure for waterbus route No. 1 (last stop Lido, about one hour journey time).
- Scomenzera ‘C’. The direct waterbus route No. 3 to Murano.
- Sant-Andrea ‘B’. Outer circle routes No. 4.2 to Fondamente Nove/Murano, No. 5.2 to Fondamente Nove/Ospedale/Lido (at night, some services depart from the nearby landing stages: please read the notices at the stop).
Piazzale Roma (Venice) – All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (tripadvisor.com)
Other posts in the category of “Getting Around – Basic Terminology” (Santa Lucia train Station – Getting Around-Basic Terminology – Useful Apps)
Venice Museum Guide – Introduction
San Croce – District and Attractions
The 10 best hotels close to Piazzale Roma Vaporetto Stop in Venice, Italy (booking.com)
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