We were lucky enough to spend the Easter weekend in Venice. My husband and I visited many years ago and, much more recently, our kids have been telling us how much they want to visit the city. So, we decided to indulge them (and us!).
Venice is still as beautiful as it was last time we visited. Its shabby air and dilapidated buildings are what make it so appealing -- to me at least. We spent a lot of time just wandering the streets, seeing what we came across, and that really is the best way to experience the city. You find yourself in awe and experiencing sensory overload. There is so much to take in, so much to see, that you end up wishing you had eyes in the back of your head!
One of the highlights for me was Ca' Rezzonico -- a palazzo built in the seventeenth century and eighteenth centuries, which boasts some beautiful frescoes. The rooms in the palace are presented as they would have been in the eighteenth century, with furnishings and artwork of the period. Another highlight was the Secrets Tour at the Palazzo Ducale, an hour-long guided itinerary taking you to hidden parts of the palace which aren't usually open to the public.
Venice was full of tourists -- much more so than when we visited fifteen or so years ago. Whether this was because it was Easter weekend or whether it is just that many more people are travelling now than then, I don't know. However, as is always the case, you only have to turn down a small side street to find yourself practically alone, since the vast majority of people seem to prefer sticking with the crowds on the main drags.
The kids particularly enjoyed the 'watery' aspect of Venice and loved the various vaporetto rides that we did. We took an Alilaguna boat from the airport to Venice and this was a real hit -- approaching Venice by boat ensures some fantastic views and also provides an understanding of the city and its canals. The kids were on the edge of their seats snapping photos out of the window.
A weekend really wasn't long enough to see and do everything in Venice. Maybe we'll return in another few years to complete the job!