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Internet access

How to access the internet in Venice

Internet cafe, Venice

In a word, don't. Other Italian cities have begun to catch up with modern times. Rome is installing free wireless access points. Affordable internet cafes are now a common feature of Italian cities. But Venice is in its own world and getting online here can be extortionately expensive.

The Italian government is partially responsible for the difficulties of accessing the internet. A couple of years ago they decided that customers must produce ID every time they access the internet. Consequently several providers who can't manage this have removed their internet access, and it's hard to see how public wireless access can fulfil the legal criteria.

If internet access is important to you, the best option is to check the facilities offered by hotels before you make a booking. Many have an internet terminal in their lobby, sometimes free, sometimes paid. Several offer wireless coverage for guests who are travelling with wireless-enabled laptops (for more on wireless hotspots, see below).

Internet cafes

If you're prepared to pay for the privilege, it's not too hard to find somewhere to check your emails. There are quite a few internet cafes around Venice, particularly in the busy areas around the Rialto, St. Mark's and the railway station - you can see them signposted off most busy thoroughfares, sometimes just indicated by the symbol '@'. We're reluctant to recommend any specific ones, as they all seem to be in league to keep prices preposterously high, but we will list a few below. You can expect to pay around 8 (5) an hour, or less for a shorter period. Most offer services like printing, downloads and connections for laptops. Remember to take your passport as ID: thanks to the 'security' legislation mentioned above, every ramshackle little internet cafe has the right, indeed the duty, to take a photocopy of your passport.

Near the Rialto Bridge
The first possibility we have tried is Venetian Navigator, where the hourly rate is 8 but you can pay for longer periods of time to use over several visits: e.g. 3 hours for 20. They have two branches - we've tried the one between the Rialto Bridge and Campo Fava, in Calle Stagneri. Their website: Venetian Navigator. Another little internet cafe, incorporated into a pool hall, can be found not far away, over the canal from Campo SS. Apostoli, where you pay 7 an hour.

Near St. Mark's
Down a lane (Calle della Sacrestia) to the east of St. Mark's is Internet Point World-House, also 8 an hour.

On the Giudecca
The best deal we've seen so far is in a little computer shop on the Giudecca (a short boat ride from the main part of Venice). A few yards to the left of the Palanca boat stop, this place charged 3.50 an hour, or 35 for a monthly pass.

Prices were checked in April 2007. Don't forget to take your passport as ID, and if you have student ID ask if you can get a discount.

Free internet access

We have discovered a way to get limited free internet access in Venice (at the time of writing, anyhow). This is in the Telecom Italia Future Centre, close to the Rialto. Read more about the Telecom Italia Future Centre. You're limited to 30 minutes a day.

Wireless connection

If you have a wireless-enabled laptop and are looking for wi-fi internet access, you will need to be resourceful. There may be some unsecured networks around the city (late at night we once saw a young man busy working on his laptop in the middle of a small square while Venice was asleep). Your next best bet is the network of hotspots run by Tin and Telecom Italia (there are around 36 of these listed). Frustratingly, the only one of those listed which is fully accessible to the public is the Telecom Italia Future Centre - which doesn't appear to be operating right now (Spring 2007). The others are in hotels, a restaurant, at Marco Polo Airport and the Eurostar business lounge at the railway station. These hotspots aren't free, but rates are reasonable and you can pay by credit card.


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Telecom Italia Future Centre


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