My preconceptions of Venice:
* narrow, dirty lanes
* stinky canals
* plazas filled with aggressive, obnoxious hawkers of tourist junk
* overrun with elbow-to-elbow tourists
* crazy expensive
My experience of Venice:
The narrow lanes weren’t shared by any vehicles, and April was not especially overrun with tourists, so it didn’t feel nearly as crowded as Florence. And it was pretty clean. There was a hint of river-smell, but not too bad, although I could imagine that July and August could be pretty stinky. There were some hawkers of strange touristy things and tours of Murano and such, but the ones in Florence were worse. It was pretty expensive, though; not terribly much more than Florence. Kind of like going to Disney, maybe.
Our hotel was more expensive than Florence, and you couldn’t find a level surface with a drunken surveyor, but we were ON the island (probably not particular unmoving over hundreds of years) and a short walk to a main street, and only slightly longer to the boat docks for the island excursions. The location was quiet, and the hotel family friendly, with tasty breakfasts that had actual HAM and cheese. That is really unusual for a continental breakfast B & B. The room was not only large, but the bathroom was large, and the whole suite was down its own hallway with locking door. The convenience factor was a real plus after Florence! The hotel was the B&B Al Palazzetto.
The lighting actually seemed magical at times. Of course, just like in Florence, we had some overcast time and some rainy time, but when the sun shone, the city glowed.
I have a ton of photos, but I’m not sure how I want to organize all this. I’ll try to separate out the island of Murano, but other than that? So keep in touch for more scenes from Venice!