Venice Vaporetto

Venice vaporetto is a type of boat used in the Italian city of Venice as a means of public transport, exploiting the Venetian canals, instead of streets.

The first vaporetto water bus boat that was launched in the Venetian lagoon was “Regina Margherita”, in 1881, by the ACTV company, starting the era of public transportation in the city of Venice.

Today, almost all vaporetto boats belong to the ACTV public corporation, which manages the city’s public transportation both for the land and for the sea, using a large fleet that includes motoscafi motorboats, breakwater boats (battello foraneo), and motor ships.

Venice Vaporetto

PHOTO: Venice vaporetto water bus in the Venetian lagoon.

Although almost all of the boats utilize diesel engines, while a select few still use, in the name of old tradition and as a showcase for tourists, steam engines.

Vaporetto boats were introduced in Venice in the early twentieth century, with the ferries characterized by a single deck, open bows, and a bridge that is located in the central section.

Older vaporetto models had a wooden plank that was raised to allow passangers to get to the machinery sections.

Today, the boats feature large walk-in areas and seating for passengers, as well as, though not in all the modern boats, outdoor seating in the bow.

In the last decade, Venice got new Vaporetto units, known as Series 90, which generate a lower displacement of water. This development was, in fact, necessary, to limit the waves that wear away the foundations of the lagoon city.

However, as these boats use a different design, they are also less stable in comparison to the units of older designs.

Major motor vessels have been in service in the Venetian Lagoon for over a century for public connections between Venice and the main islands of the lagoon, as well as with links to Pellestrina and Chioggia.

Currently, these boats are part of the fleet managed by ACTV, and most are capable of carrying between 1,000 and 1,200 people, while there are some units with a capacity of up to about 500 people.

The units are mostly named after the islands of the lagoon, some historic Venetian towns, but recently, the names used have been people’s names.

In view of the costs and required maintenance for the current fleet, the vaporetto water bus operating company has announced a tender for the construction of new fleet with high load capacities (of more than 400 people), which will gradually replace the ferries currently in service.