I really fancied the run, and a quick look on Google street view suggested it was possible. I struggled to check that, though; I expected to find someone saying “yes, you can do that!” on several forums, but only found one, after some searching. That was enough, but I figured I’d add one more voice with this post.
Yes! You can run, or walk, from Mestre to Venice. It’s around 10km from Mestre station to Santa Lucia station/Piazzale Roma and not beautiful. Buses, trains and trams cost €1.35 (March 2019) so at that point I understand if I lose walkers’ interest. Cyclists, though – go for it, the route is made for you. And despite the lack of beauty, arriving into Venice is stunning, and I felt my soul calmed. That despite my getting there after 10am, with the place full of people.
A couple of fiddly bits. First, if you are staying North of the railway tracks, you need to get South. There are a few options, but some involve strolling along the side of elevated roads, and Italian drivers are merciless, so I’d advise a crossing. You can go under the tracks at the railway station – walk in, go down stairs, pass all the platforms and out the other side. And just a little further along, at the back of the (open air) bus station, there’s another underpass. It is pungent, but wider and less busy than the station.
I used the bus station underpass, just 100m (ish) East of the railway station. Once out on the Marghera side, cross the road and follow what starts out as a road, with chain link fence on your left.
Then you can follow the Rampa Giorgio Rizzardi, on a separate cycle path for a while. Fairly soon, you run out of road. There’s a bus stop, but that’s it. Instead of running along the side of the main road, cross one single railway line and turn up the Via delle Industrie. No need to loop back on yourself as I did – that was me checking that yes, I was out of pavement.
From there you can take one of the side roads, or continue on the Via delle Industrie. Below is an overview of this section, which is heading round another railway station, Venezia Porto Marghera. The path proper picks up behind the Expo. Most of this area seems set aside for parking.
A separate note, from a previous run. The circled area is a bridge from the end of Via Torino (the roundabout, disappearing into the top of the picture). There is a footway to take you onto the main road, on the left of the road/bridge. However, at the moment it is taped off. From the North, it looks like there is also a footway on the right. But when you get to the SW of the circled spot, that ‘footway’ is very narrow (I had to turn sideways and side-step my way down it). It isn’t really a good way onto the main road, though I made it, was ignored by the policeman on the road, and was able to cross the Via della Liberta to get onto the main path. Happier to stick to the underpass, though.
There’s one more deviation away from the main road, but you are just following the path here. Keep your eyes open where it crosses roads – they may be busy if lots of people are heading to park.
From here it’s easy, and flat. The path narrows at a couple of points, so just check for bikes coming up behind you. The bridge is not high, just a metre or two above the water. The only raised section is as you come into Venice itself, but doesn’t go more than a couple of metres up, and by then you are on a separate boardwalk area, so your way is clear. That may not be true as you hit the first island – in my case, the pavement ahead was full of 100+ school kids in a group. But running in the road was okay. I took a slight detour heading for the station, but getting a ticket and getting back was as easy as you like. The machines have several languages, including English and Arabic.
The views, even on a quick visit as I had, are fabulous. Go early if you want to run round more of Venice, or there will be people everywhere.