Yes, we went to Venice!
Originally, we had planned to stay several days, but then our dates moved, and we went directly to Florence. I couldn't bear to give up on Venice entirely, so I checked into what a day trip would entail. So, not too bad! We got high-speed train tickets (3 months in advance, and even then, we had to change plans by one day because our day was sold out of cheap tickets) - that made it a 2 hour trip each way from Florence; we had plenty of time to relax in air-conditioned comfort ;-)
We had 6 hours to meander around. Which was *more* than plenty on a hot sunny day!
We took the vaporetto #1, wanting to see every stop of the Grand Canal to San Marco. Well, so maybe we didn't really need to *stop* everywhere to *see* everything along the way. We didn't get off, and it still took us about an hour from our place in line until we got off at the garden at San Marco! Fortunately, we had seats. Unfortunately, it was very hot! Fortunately, the view was spectacular!
We got to the garden, found a nice shady bench, and ate our picnic lunch. Then, on to the square! It was awe inspiring! So huge!
The basilica was the one monument building we went into (free, very short line, and SO WORTH IT!). But (we knew this in advance), no pictures allowed inside (of course, plenty of people ignored that prohibition).
The inside is simply breathtaking! Beyond that, I will not attempt a description. Do yourself a favor, and follow this link to see some of the interior and read more about it: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mark%27s_Basilica
We walked down a few alleys and got (our 1st for the day) gelato.
On our way back, we took the vaporetto part way, then cut across.
By the time we got back to the station, we were sooo tired! We sat for about an hour (and had our 2nd gelato =-O ), then caught our train home.
- Our train from Florence said it was 10 minutes late (it actually left 20 minutes late).
- Vaporetto #1 stops at every "fermata" - it is not the only one that goes to San Marco. It leaves from "E" dock at the train station. The line is long!
- We got our round trip vaporetto tickets at a convenience store inside the train station (no mark-up, no line)
- Long before our trip, I mapped out a route for vaporetto and walking on Google Maps. So we had a good idea of where we were going and how to get there. But I forgot to double-check how long it would take to walk! So we had to guess :-\ .
- GPS worked great, and kept me from worrying about getting lost. I had an offline map stored -yay! But my map-with-route would only load with Wi-Fi. So, I took a screenshot of it, and just used that and the real-time map.
- The water closet off San Marco square is on the side opposite the basilica (watch for "WC" signs on the ground pointing the way). It is 1.50€, and up many flights of stairs.
- Here (and in Lucca), near the entrance to the square, and surrounded by vendor stalls, there is a water pipe! It doesn't gush, but you can refill your water bottles with lovely, cool water - just a short line will save your sanity!