Venice is a beautiful
city tourist attraction. Yes. I
would not really call the island a city, because
there is not a feel for local life, just for tourism. You may be fine with that, you may not. I am glad we were able to visit, though we generally life to get a feel for the culture.
Gondolas St Mark's Square
We managed to see what we wanted of St. Mark's the morning before we got on the cruise ship (our cruise began and ended in Venice), though we never walked inside any of the attractions. Lines are long, and the place was crowded. Throughout our time on the island we saw a lot of St Marks, as we often found ourselves passing through it to get to different sections.
View from the Bridge of Sighs
The sites are definitely beautiful, and there is no lack of souvenirs to be found. We stayed and extra two nights in Venice, thinking that we paid to fly over there, we might as well get the best of it. This brings me to my tips for Venice:
1. Yes, you should visit if it's your heart's desire, but I would recommend visiting while on a tour of Italy, maybe just a one night stay. We were seriously twiddling our thumbs by the evening we got off of the Cruise ship. Maybe we would have wanted to see more, if we had not spent a week traveling around the Mediterranean just before that. On our second day off the ship our mission was to find the McDonalds (we saw an advertisement for it on a trash can near the Rialto bridge).
2. Dress nicely. Jeans, no tshirts, well fitted clothing. Europeans dress remarkably well...all the time. We saw men with fitted jeans (not skinny, they just weren't baggy), button up shirts tucked in with sleeves rolled up and casual shoes (not chucks, or tennis shoes). Women were often wearing skinny jeans with little to no fading, flat shoes, and a nice blouse or shirt. You would also see dresses and skirts, all of the clothing fitting well.
3. Be prepared for a weather change. The day we got off of the boat, we were all sweating in our shorts and short-sleeved shirts...I was even wearing a sleeveless shirt. The next day, temps dropped, and it was cloudy. Daniel and I had to run around trying to find a warm jacket to wear that wasn't expensive. Yes, there are plenty of stores there like Burberry, Mui Mui, Versaci, and other various high priced stores. Finding a place that was right on our price tag...more tricky.
4. This wasn't really a shock to us, but I think I should mention it: Americans tend to add more fat and flavor to their meals...Mexican food in Mexico is more bland and less cheesy than Tex-Mex, and Italian food in Italy is less creamy and cheesy than say...Olive Garden. It still tastes great, but some people may want to be warned.
5. Pack tightly. Please. You will regret having to pull more than one small suitcase onto water buses and over cobblestone streets with a lot of steps (there aren't ramps). Daniel and I each brought a suitcase the size of a carry on, with all of our clothes rolled tightly. Others in our travels packed a large suitcase that a human body could fit in, plus an extra carry on sized suitcase. Out of those people, one had some leg troubles, and one has had back troubles in the past that I was worried about flaring up. SO the pregnant girl and the strapping young lad tried to take as much of the luggage of their hands as possible. After many...subtle...comments about packing tendencies, they agreed that they would pack more tightly and lightly next time, and pay for a laundry service is needed.
Water buses are packed and busy; you do not want to be even more overwhelmed than you already are.
6. I've heard Europe is pricey, especially with the Euro to Dollar exchange rate, but Venice probably got away with even higher prices, since their sole income is tourism. Just be prepared. If you are a wine drinker, it will be cheaper than bottled water and soda, so I'd say go for it. Tap water is drinkable, so drink it, and don't waste $4 on a 20oz bottle of water if you don't have to. AND as with most of Europe a public Water Closet (toilet, restroom) will cost you 1 Euro with minimal places to find one.
View from the Rialto bridge of the Grand Canal
It was all worth admiring a city built out of the water, older than our country. And I'm happy to be able to say that I went there, so in 20 years (I may be exaggerating) when it has been taken over by water, I can say I have been there.