We will be staying 5 nights in Venice as first time visitors. What is the best type of pass to get to cover transportation and admission fees while there?
If you go to www.veniceconnected.com, you will see combination passes that cover most of the museums and sites as well as a vaporetto pass. You might need either the 72hr or 7-day vaporetto pass. This provides unlimited travel on the vaporettos. Some combinations also include the bus to and from the airport. One great museum that is not included in the combinations and that you might want to see is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. With at least 5 days in Venice, make sure that you get out to Murano and Burano. Your vaporetto passes will get you there and back.
And if you don't already have it, get the RS book for either Italy or Venice. It will be the smartest money you spend and it answers exactly these sorts of questions.