Skip the Venezia Unica card
Let me save you the research and tell you that the Venezia Unica Card is not worth buying for the typical visitor to Venice. If you are only in the city for a couple of days, it will probably be more economical to buy ACTV transport cards (if you want to travel on the ferries a lot), and just pay for the specific museums and churches that you have time to see.
There is a small chance that the Venezia Unica card can save people a lot of money, but usually only in the long run. This card would best serve people who come to the city often, or are residing in the city long term, as the card itself is valid for 5 years once it is purchased, and often the museum passes are valid for 3 to 6 months after purchase. Here is an outline of what to expect if you invest in one of these cards:
Unica card entitlements
What you are entitled to with the card will depend on how much money you want to invest in it. Once you have purchased the card itself for €40, you can "build your own card" according to how long you will be in the city and how much you want to see and do. You can add things like:
- Entry to museums and churches
- Unlimited access to public transportation (within a certain time period)
- Transfers for to and from the airport
- Access to services like public Wi-Fi and public toilets
- Discounted prices at restaurants
- Tickets to sporting events and special tours
All of these extras vary in price and time limits, so you can personalize your entitlements for your trip. For example if you want to see all of the museums and churches, but you are planning to walk everywhere, you can just buy the Silver City Pass for all the main attractions. Every card will give you added discounts to various shows and attractions around the city (you would have to check the website for what is available at the time).
What attractions you can see
There are many beautiful and historic landmarks to explore in Venice, and the Venezia Unica card will give you access to most of them. You can buy tickets for places like:
- All 10 civic museums, plus access to Doge's Palace
- The Naval History museum
- The Viva Vivaldi exhibition
- The Fenice Theatre (with audio guide)
- Church of the chorus circuit (the churches that are not free to visit)
- The Querini Stampalia Foundation exhibition
- The Jewish museum and synagogues
- Scala Contarini del Bovolo (the beautiful and significant spiral staircase
- Casa Museo Andriche (the modern art gallery on the island of Torcello)
If you only want to see the main churches and museums, the most effective way to do it is to buy the civic museum pass that includes all 11 civic museums. This is valid for 6 months after you purchase it and includes Doge's Palace, all of the museums in Saint Mark's Square, and even the museums on the islands of Murano and Burano. There is also discounts available for these tickets if you are aged 6-29 or over 65 years old, giving you even more savings that are not available without the card. All of the other exhibitions mentioned above can be added to the card one by one.
What to expect for transport
The water ferries in Venice are notoriously expensive, so if you are planning on using the water buses to get around or are not staying in the very centre of the city you might consider using the transport aspect of the card.
You can add transport accessibility to your card for 1, 2, 3, or 7 days, and the time period starts from when you first validate your ticket. During this time you get unlimited access to the public transportation system in Venice (using the vaporetto), but if you are wanting transfers to and from the San Marco airport then you will need to add choose this option when you are purchasing your card. If you are wanting to take advantage of the transfers to the airport, make sure you purchase the correct amount of days - for example if you are staying for two days, but are flying out on the third day, you will need to buy a card that is valid for 72 hours.
If you are planning on using the water ferry system a lot during your stay, then you can probably break even purchasing the transport aspects of this card. A one way trip is a staggering €7.50, and although this might be OK for a one-off trip, this will add up very quickly if you are staying for several days and you are not walking very often.
Where to buy a Unica card
The Venezia Unica cards can be bought online, but you will need to go and pick up the physical card when you arrive in Venice. If you are wanting to build a personalized card, it is probably easier to do this online so that you can take the time to choose what you would like access to, then take the confirmation codes to one of the HelloVenezia offices when you arrive.
When you go to pick up your card, make sure you have your passport and either €40 in cash or a major credit card like Visa or MasterCard.
VeneziaUnica City Pass is the ideal solution for those who want to discover the entire city and fall in love with it, also with the intention of enjoying the beauties that Venice offers over multiple visits.
In fact, tickets purchased at discounted prices with VeneziaUnica can be used for a full 24 months from the date of purchase. Maybe it's not the best solution for a trip of only three days but it's the best way to get all the main attractions and transportation always at your fingertips! It can be purchased online, on the website, where you can create the solution that best suits you and your interests with a simple click.
If you are already on site, you can go to the ticket offices in Venice, the largest in Piazzale Roma and the Railway Station, where the staff will help you create your City Pass according to your needs.