Before we left for Venice we heard a lot of advice from people who’ve been there. The food is terrible; the food is great. Avoid Piazza San Marco; make sure you spend some time in Piazza San Marco. Visit Murano, skip Murano. One thing I found surprising was when several people told us to avoid going on a gondola ride because (1) they were too expensive, and (2) you didn’t see anything interesting. Well, I’m not going to lie to you. A private gondola ride *is* expensive. It’s also wonderful, and beautiful, and takes you to places you absolutely would not see on the vaporetti. Not to discourage you from exploring via that means, but we had a significantly better time on our one hour gondola ride than we did on our one hour vaporetto trip from the airport to our stop near the hotel (not the least of which was because we didn’t have to have other tourists talking in our ears and generally being a little more loud and boisterous than you should in a confined public space, but I digress). Our particular gondolier was a bit of a character in that he generally just traded barbs with his fellow gondoliers during the majority of our journey, but he did whistle some tunes and point out important landmarks along the way. I’m not sure how one would go about picking a particular gondolier for his singing voice, but if that’s important to you, I suggest you do some additional research because you’re not going to find it here. What you will find, however, is a bunch of pretty pictures that I took along the way.