Buses in Venice are boats, like so much else. The Venetians call them vaporetti (sing. vaporetto), and they’re almost as iconic as the gondolas, and much more used, by tourists and residents alike.

Besides being the easiest way of getting around the city, the vaporetti can also make for nice photography subjects or locations.

The vaporetto as subject

The first approach to vaporetto photography is often the boat itself, but since it’s rather obvious it easily becomes banal.

The token vaporetto to say ‘Venice’

You can use the vaporetto, like the gondola, to show that you’ve taken a photograph in Venice, even when it is not otherwise obvious from the context.

The vaporetto as location

The vaporetti are an integral of Venetian daily life, and both the boats and the boarding platforms can be great locations for street photography.

When the platforms and boats are crowded it is not easy. However, when there are fewer people around, the results can be interesting.

Searching for the odd angle

Sometimes it can be fruitful to look for a different angle, say, when the vaporetti are so crowded that any photo taken at eye level will be a mess.

One day I took photos at a lower level, trying to imaging how the place would look from a dog’s perspective.

Another day I noticed the metal mesh that covers the windows so advertising on the outside can cover everything, and I experimented with how that mesh changed the view from the inside. It’s mostly invisible if not in focus, but by focusing on the mesh itself, the outside looked different.

Wait for disaster to happen

You can search for good photo opportunities, or you can wait for them to come to you. In November 2019 some unique opportunities appeared in the form of a violent storm with some very high water. Several vaporetti crashed on the queyside in central Venice, which offered some one-in-a-lifetime chances.

When in Venice

Vaporetti are all over Venice, and they can easily be a part of the classic photo walk and the street photography walks.


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