By Hannah Norman

Venice (image courtesy of Ted Gushue)

When in Venice….do as the well-travelled do! Rather than compete with the hordes for a busy vaporetto service, take a moment to relax and enjoy the city from the water (is there really any other way to appreciate it properly?!), by hiring a private water taxi.

One firm that has spent the last three years paving the way (or should that be paving the waves?) in private water transportation is Venice Quality Transfers. Helmed by the lovely Trisha Perolari, she set up VQT with a plan for the business to break even after 15 months. That happened after only three and the rest, as they say, is history.

Venice (images courtesy of Ted Gushue)

Trisha and her team – which has grown with the business – ensure that you are met by an attentive and professional staff member at the transport hub of your choice – whether that be on the platform at Venice Santa Lucia Train Station, or the more common pick-up point of Venice Marco Polo Airport’s arrivals hall. Time is ever of the essence, and a swift glide across the waterways from the airport to the city centre can be completed in less than 30 minutes.

Although Venice Quality Transfers do have their own taxi, they are primarily a transfer service. Working with the leading water taxi company in Venice means they have some 50 boats at their disposal, varying in style and age. The team will time their arrival with yours, taking into consideration flight delays, diversions, fog, high tide and any other problems that can crop up along the way. Equally reassuring is that they won’t abandon you at the dockside either, and are with you at every point of your journey. This also means that if ever there are any problems, Trisha’s team will deal with them, not you – to Venice Quality Transfers, service is everything! “I had a driver on hand for 8 hours once when a plane was diverted to Milan,” Trisha tells us. “I have a fantastic team, and we all work together.”  

Venice (image courtesy of Ted Gushue)


In addition to transfers, Trisha can also organise water tours to help maximise any trip to Venice in style, from a canal tour of the city to a private tour of the lagoon islands. She has also started working with an excursion boat company to cater for larger boat transfers, as needed. “I love the contact with the guests and helping them with their travel plans – and then finally meeting them,” Trisha enthuses. She’s had some pretty good guests, too. “A very touching couple contacted me as they were returning to Venice after 50  years of marriage, to the same hotel. Working with them and seeing them so happy and so in love was magical.” Then there was the couple whose transfers Trisha organised when they came to the city to renew their vows. “They have returned regularly to Venice and we are now friends,” Trisha says.

Perhaps what makes a trip with Venice Quality Transfers so special is the evident love and care that is bestowed upon the boats, which are “treated with love by the driver,” Trisha explains. “People often baulk at the price [to travel by private taxi], but what they don’t realise is how much [the boats] cost, and then how much they cost to maintain and insure.”

Water taxi in Venice (image courtesy of Venice Quality Transfers)

Indeed, the majority of boats are built to specification, and it can take up to a year for the work to be completed. At each stage of the build, there are various tests that need to be undergone – and without each stage gaining approval, the boat-building cannot continue. On top of this, the drivers themselves need to undergo tests of their own (namely medicals and safety tests), before they are issued with a license. Even then, it’s still not all (pardon the pun) plain sailing, as once a boat has been launched, it needs to come out of the water every quarter in order to be varnished. “Usually two coats of varnish,” Trisha says, “but obviously, it depends on the boat and the amount it needs to be sanded back.” All of which means that when you book a private water taxi in Venice, you will be travelling in style in one of the sleekest, smartest and well-loved vehicles on the water.

Now, just in case you’re wondering about whether a service like Venice Quality Transfers also attracts a celebrity clientele, “we have had some high profile bookings,” Trisha says with a smile, “but I can’t name them, sorry!”

To make a booking for the next time you’re in La Serenissima, go to