I think some of the reviews here are incorrect, the price of the vaporetto dell'arte is not double the normal vaporetto price, they are a 10 Euro optional extra to whatever length of ticket you have - 3 day 7 day etc and are worth every penny.
During the heat of July I used the standard Vaporettos along the Grand Canal and in the daytime the day were old boats full of heaving, hot, stressed-out sweaty, smelly bodies. I would compare them to using a diesel fume filled public bus in Calcutta, some seemed dangerously overcrowded. In some places there is nothing to hang onto so you end up falling into someone if the boat hits the docking pontoon too fast.
The Vaporetto Dell'Arte boats in comparison were new, only ever about 10% full, have comfortable seats, seat back displays showing you buildings along the route, free earphones for the running recorded commentary and paper guides. One of them I went on even had air-conditioning. They always had dedicated helpful staff on board who asked if you needed headphones or a guide.
You can hop on and hop off the Vaporetto Dell'Arte as a normal Vaporetto, in fact I did this a number of times, timing my arrival at a Vaporetto stop so I could catch the Vaporetto Dell'Arte rather than the normal Vaporetto. When you get on the Vaporetto Dell'Arte they make you scan your ticket at a scanning point on the boat to make sure you have the E10 extension on the ticket, if you do not have this extension you will be asked to get off the boat.
One thing to bear in mind is that the Vaporetto Dell'Arte has more limited hours of operation (from 10am to 7pm) and has more limited stops than the normal Vaporetto, mainly along the Grand Canal starting at the railway station going all the way up to the San Marco Canal including St Mark’s Square, the island of San Giorgio and as far east as Giardini in the summer. Try to coincide your need to use river transport with the arrival of the Vaporetto Dell'Arte boats, in the summer the normal Vaporetto boats can be hellish and so full that you cannot get through the throng on board to get to the exit in time, thus missing your stop.
With the normal Vaporettos, the way of stopping is for them to reverse the engine and to throw a looped rope onto to a stanchion at the jetty as the boat comes in, and the one rope help stops a boat that must weigh a hundred tons. Once the rope snapped directly in front of the squashed horde on board and I’m surprised the recoil didn’t have someone’s eye out. The Vaporetto Dell'Arte isn’t crowded and are operated more gently so this danger is not likely to happen on them.
During the heat of summer you will be very glad indeed to have paid for the Vaporetto dell'Arte, the regular Vaporettos can be pretty brutal, this is luxury in comparison and for only a few Euros more.
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