The taxi acquei (water taxis) of Venice

How to take a motoscafo taxi acquei (water taxi) in Venice, Italy

A taxi acquei (water taxi) stand near the Rialto Bridge in Venice
A taxi acquei (water taxi) stand near the Rialto Bridge in Venice.
Venice's taxi acquei, or water taxis (often called motoscafi), are essentially just speed boats—of the genteel, burled-wood variety—put to public use.

They provide an excellent and speedy—but very expensive—way to get you and your luggage down the canal without the headache of crowds on the slower public vaporetti.

You may not be the only passenger on board, as captains take on as many travelers as they can fit who are going in the same direction (most taxis fit up to 10, some as many as 14 passengers).

They also charge dizzyingly steep fares:

To put that in perspective, you can also get from the airport to downtown Venice by public ferry for €15 (, by shared boat for €30 (, or by private boat starting at €34 per person (also » more

That said, it is the same fare in a water taxi covers up to five people; each additonal person beyond five tacks just €10 onto the price. So while for a single person a water taxi is insanely costly, for a family of four it almost starts getting reasonable.

Standard taxi fares in Venice

The flag fall—the initial charge for merely stepping aboard the taxi boat—is €13, plus another €1.80 for each minute of travel (€1.20 per minute of sitting around idling).

Up to five passengers, the fare remains unchanged. Six or more people pay an additional €10 per person.

For more than 5 bags, each piece of luggage costs €5.

The night supplement (for rides between 10am and 7am) is €10.

On Sundays and holidays, an extra €5.90 is tacked on to the fare—though note they aren't allowed to charge you both the Sunday and the night fare supplements.

Where to find a water taxi in Venice

Just make you patronize an official taxi boat (with a yellow stripe down the side and a registration number).

There are taxi stands/docks near every major tourist destination:

You can call ahead for a taxi, but it'll add another €6 to the rates (tel. +39-041-522-2303,; see the 'Details" section for more numbers.)

When to bother taking a taxi acquei

Unless you're in a monstrous hurry, getting to and from the airport with luggage is really the only time you might even consider indulging in the overpriced splurge of a Venetian water taxi.

Sure, it's way pricier than the airport bus (€100 versus €7), but for sheer romance you can't beat arriving in Venice by boat. (Plus, the bus lets you off in Piazzale Roma, so you would still have to catch a vaporetto to get you and your luggage to your hotel.)

However, do note that the public Alilaguna ferry from the airport is a far cheaper (€15 versus €100), albeit slower (45–100 minutes versus 30–40 minutes), way to arrive by water.

I've done the math for you. When it comes to aiport transfers,'s shared transfer is still cheaper for two or three people—and the public ferry remains cheaper in every situtation. See, for five people, a water taxi costs €100 and the ferry €75. Once you get past five, you pay an extra €15 for either another ferry ticket or for each additonal person plus his/her bag. That means with the ferry you always come out at least €25 ahead of the game.

Honestly, I have only ever twice used water taxis in Venice.

Once, it was free. I bumped into a couple at my hotel who were also headed to Murano for the day, and they invited me to ride with them then wouldn't let me chip in to pay. (I gave them some free travel advice instead.)

The other time, a water taxi was sent by the chic Hotel Danieli to pick me up at the airport and take me downtown. (I don't normally run with the Danieli crowd, but I was on assignment.)

Tips & links

  • Taxi numbers
  • tel. +39-041-522-2303
  • tel. +39-041-522-8637
  • tel. +39-041-723-112
  • tel. +39-041-522-1265
Venice links & resources

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  • Taxi numbers
  • tel. +39-041-522-2303
  • tel. +39-041-522-8637
  • tel. +39-041-723-112
  • tel. +39-041-522-1265

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