wandering the 'streets' of Venice
Many people only think of Piazza San Marco when visiting Venice, but there is so much more. Churches around almost every corner, 'streets' that come in many different sizes - most too small for a car even if they were allowed, and the canals - these too come in many different sizes. Just walking the labyrinth of 'streets' and getting lost in it all. The streets and canals can be of several different types: Fondamente, calli, salizzzade, canali, rii, ponti, rii terra, and sottoportico - which are translate to: street along a canal, narrow street, paved road, channel, small channel, bridge, a channel covered over to make a street, and covered passageways.
The best way to discover the hidden little secrets is to just head off down a path and follow what interests your eyes. You'll eventually find a yellow sign directing you to some tourist attraction, or you may just find yourself at a dead end. If this happens, just head off in another direction, and if you find yourself at another dead end - don't worry about it, your on vacation and it's not like you've gotta be somewhere.
Get your bearings from the tower
Arriving at St Marks Square it may be sensible to visit the bell tower to obtain a 360 degree vista of Venice. Cost is €8 (2009) and it is open all day long. The lift takes you up to below the bells and you have a wide stone platform enclosed by wire to allow great views. Look down to the square itself and see the tables opposite Florians - unsurprisingly empty when the sun is at its hottest.
See the distant Lido although not the sandy beach. Admire the beauty of the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. Enjoy another aspect of the Basilica this time from a birds eye.
Venice - Basillica di San Marcos, side entrance
At the Basillica di San Marcos, is done in style. You can see fluted columns, friezes, statues of people and griffins, a pope, cherubs and a whole passle of other things, just get up close and personal to see it all.
Oh almost forgot to mention, the entrance to Basillica di San Marcos is restricted by dress code, if you have shorts, sandals or short sleeved dress, you will not be allowed entrance...so come prepared.
By law, accomodations in Italy must display the room prices in the rooms. In every room you will find a form that publishes the minimum and maximum price for the room. So if you were told a different price, don't hesitate to complain at the reception.
Surviving Venice in the Summer
During the summer it is hot. And I live in Houston, Texas so I know what hot is, trust me! So make sure to bring a battery operated, hand-held fan or something to cool yourself with while wandering Venice. These battery operated ones can be found at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, etc for under $5. You can thank me later ;)