Living in Venice
For information on academic, studio, and library resources available to Pratt students in Venice, please consult Facilities & Libraries.
Comfortable apartments will be arranged for students throughout Venice. Students are required to make a 50€ security deposit upon arrival, which will be returned to them by Pratt in Venice depending upon the condition of the apartment at the end of the program. Students are responsible for maintaining the apartments during their residence and leaving them in their original condition upon departure. Absolutely no studio work is allowed in the apartments – Pratt in Venice provides convenient studio space covered by the tuition for students to work. Sheets and towels are provided, but not cleaning services. Each apartment has a washing machine and either a clothes rack or drying lines outside the window. Clothes will dry in about two hours on a dry day. Please be environmentally conscious: don’t leave appliances or lights on when not in use.
Vaporetti, or water buses, are the major method of public transportation in Venice. It is easy to get around the main land of Venice by walking, so after you have become familiar with the islands you may not use them as much. The vaporetto is necessary, however, to get to UIA, the Cini Library, the Lido, and outlying islands.
A monthly vaporetto pass and photo ID will be obtained for you before your arrival. You must have both your monthly pass and your ID on you at all times. The ID is called a Venezia Unica. It costs 10€ (40€ for students 26 and older) and is good for 5 years. The monthly unlimited pass/subscription is called an abbonamento, and it costs 23€ (33€ for students 26 and older).
The program will acquire your Venezia Unica cards and June abbonamento in advance of your arrival. Upon arrival at orientation, please have 33€ (or 73€ for students 26 and older) to reimburse the program for these items. Like an unlimited monthly MetroCard, the pass allows you to travel on vaporetti for the entire month of June. You must renew your pass for July on your own at any vaporetto ticket booth before July 1.
The public transportation authority in Venice is ACTV. A map will be included in your arrival packet at orientation, but you can access maps and timetables on the ACTV website.
The program will provide at least one cell phone per apartment that will be shared between roommates. The cell phones provided will have a minimal number of minutes already available for use (5-10); students are responsible for purchasing additional minutes during the program to keep the phones active. These phones are to be used primarily for program communications.
Inexpensive cell phones are readily available in Venice if individuals want to purchase their own (25-40€). Italian SIM cards (ca. 15€) can also be purchased for use in an unlocked American phone—contact your phone company in the US for details before departure.
Calling the US is usually less expensive if you use an international calling card. You can purchase an Italian phone card (carta telefonica) from a tabacchaio once you arrive in Venice. These cards are for use at public phones and are best for calls within Italy or short calls to the U.S. There are many public phones around Venice. Nevertheless, it is always cheaper to have someone in the U.S. call you. (Note: there is a 6 hour time difference between Italy and the East Coast of the US, with Italy being ahead).
There are a lot of places to eat out, but food in Venice can be fairly expensive. Most restaurants in Italy include additional charges that may be unfamiliar. The coperto is a small, per person charge. The servizio is a service charge. This means that tip is included, though it is customary to leave a couple Euro extra or just round out the bill to the nearest euro. Just be aware these fees exist when estimating your costs.
mercati & alimentari
There are small groceries (alimentari) in all parts of Venice. There are supermarkets (Conad or Coop) located throughout the city. There is also the world-famous Rialto market for fresh vegetables and fish, and many gourmet shops in the Rialto area. These shops are closed on Sundays, so stock up or plan to eat out (only a few supermarkets are open on Sunday). There is no need to worry if you are a vegetarian or have other special food needs. A variety of food will be available to while you are in Venice. Venetians are especially known for their seafood, pasta, and fresh markets.
There is a gluten-free market, MEA Libera Tutti, in Canareggio.
An organic market is La Serenissima, in San Marco.
Dining options in Venice are endless, but a few suggestions from program staff include:
Taverna S. Trovaso at the end of the Zattere; moderate in price with good food and good-size portions.
Alla Vedova right off of the Ca' d'Oro stop is the quintessential Venetian osteria for chichetti.
Dal Moro's, near San Marco, with murals by former Pratt in Venice students.
Ostaria Ai Pungi, near Campo S. Barnaba, which has many variations of crepes and pizza.
The hospital at SS. Giovanni e Paolo has a walk-in clinic. Emergency services are provided via motorboat. The onsite staff is available to assist with any medical visits. For urgent medical emergencies, call 118 for immediate assistance.
Private medical offices are also available for a small fee (usually ca. 50€ for an office visit.) Pharmacies (farmacia) are available all over the city, identifiable by the green cross outside, where both prescription and over-the-counter remedies may be purchased. There is always at least one pharmacy open at any time of day in Venice.
If you need assistance accessing medical care, the program assistant can help you. As always, in an emergency, call for an ambulance or the police at 118.
You can find Mass schedules for all the Catholic churches in Venice in the entry way of each church. This can alert you to special sung services and feast days. For the Feast of the Redeemer, posters are usually distributed all around Venice.
There is an Anglican church with services in English, near the Accademia stop. Synagogues in the the Old Ghetto of Venice have services available, and also offer tours.
There are local Post Offices (ufficio postale) at the end of the Zattere, on Via Garibaldi, near San Marco, and in Campo S. Stefano. Be aware that hours are rather limited. You should probably attempt to get there before noon on weekdays. The main Post Office is at the Rialto and has longer hours. Stamps (francoboli) for letters and postcards can be purchased at a tabbachaio and some souveneir shops.
If you need to receive mail while in Venice, you can have it sent to your apartment addresses (which we will give you before leaving for Venice). Keep in mind that mail to/from the U.S. will take quite a while to arrive, which can be problematic. If you need to receive a package while in Venice, contact program staff for mailing instructions before the item is sent.
Limited computer and Internet access is available at the Querini-Stampalia Library free of charge and Monday through Friday until 5:30 at UIA. Wifi is also available at UIA. It is not available at Scuola Grafica. Otherwise, you can get online at one of the many internet cafes around the city. Prices may vary so you may want to check out more than one; some have discounts for students. Don’t expect to have internet access in your apartment. What’s called a chiavetta can be purchased at cell phone stores such as Wind and Vodaphone for about 25€ with an additional rate of about 10€ for monthly unlimited internet. The Chiavetta looks similar to a USB flashdrive, and connects your laptop to wireless 3G internet service.
Art Supply Stores
The hardware store in the calle across from the façade of San Stefano has dry pigments.
Artemisia, Campiello Zen (across from the bridge from the façade of the Frari) has stretcher bars, and the staff is friendly and speaks English.
Cartolina Accademia di Lombardini, Dorsoduro 1051A or Campo S. Margherita 2928. Small shop but convenient. Good for Italian brand fixative.
Fillipi Giuseppe & Canegra Wally, S. Marco 4718, off campo Manin. Commercial paint store is good for varnishes, shellac, and mineral spirits.
Ratti, 5825 Calle delle Bande- Castello. Appliances and hardware.
Testolini, 1747 Calle Goldoni (Bacino Oreseolo). Good general art supplies, especially good for paper. 10% student discount, but you must show ISIC card and pay in cash. Has dry pigments.
Weather and Clothing
Summer in Venice is warm to hot, especially in July. Be sure to drink plenty of water on really hot days. Water in the outdoor drinking fountains is fine. In June it can be a bit cool and rainy, so it is a good idea to bring both warm and cool weather clothing. A jacket, sweater, pair of pants and small umbrella are essential.
Because you will be visiting many religious sites you need to bring certain items of clothing. There are regulations, and many places do not allow shorts, miniskirts, or sleeveless or low-cut shirts. A scarf or cardigan can be kept in a shoulder bag to cover bare arms if you are wearing sleeveless shirts.
You will also do a lot of walking, so it is essential that you bring comfortable shoes. You should make sure they are well broken in before departure.
Campo Santa Margherita is a place where young people often hang out in the evening. Sometimes there are performances of theater groups or bands. There are lots of places to sit and have coffee, gelato or drinks.