After our too-brief stay in Florence, we boarded Trenitalia for Venice. Venice was hot, humid and crowded but truly as beautiful as I expected it would be. One of our first activities was to take a boat ride down the Grand Canal.
Instead of staying in the city of Venice itself, we booked rooms at a hotel on the nearby island of Lido. We got ourselves a three-day Vaporetto (water bus) pass and used this reliable and efficient service to travel between Lido and Venice (a mere 15-minute ride). We also visited Murano, another of the Venetian Lagoon islands, well-known for its glass making.
Despite the heat, my favourite activity in Venice was just walking through the maze of streets and bridges. We'd wind through narrow alleys, getting completely lost, and then we'd suddenly stumble upon some magnificent cathedral or monument in the middle of a large piazza.
Of course, we had to go for the requisite over-priced gondola ride, but how could we leave Venice without that experience?
After a first exhausting day touring Venice, Todd and I left the kids to recuperate at our resort in Lido. We enjoyed over-priced drinks on the famous Piazza San Marco after touring the Basilica with its stunning mosaics. The next day, we visited the Doge's Palace, which is filled with paintings and sculptures by famous Italian artists. Kate was more impressed by the palace's prisons, though. Later that day, Todd took care of the kids while I made a brief visit to the Accademia gallery to see more Venetian art.