Venice would not have been much different from any other Italian city, if not for the canals and life along them. The city is almost entirely dependent upon them for transportation - there are water buses which ply in fixed routes, water taxis which can be hauled to go wherever one wants, and then there are the Gondolas. While prohibitively expensive, they look very inviting in their glamorous decor and royal ambiance. They take one around a tour of Venice, starting from the main Grand Canal to the narrow lanes and bylanes - passing under little bridges connecting big old houses and palatial buildings. Somewhere on the way, one passes under the bridge made famous as the "Bridge of Sighs" by Lord Byron - passing from the courthouse to the prison, apparently the prisoners last time saw daylight from that bridge. Rialto bridge, giving a pretty good view of the Grand Canal is another well known landmark.
The centre of Venice is undoubtedly the St. Mark's Square. The impressive basilica is the major attraction, and one can get a birds eye view of the square and the city and the little islands from climbing up the bell tower. The square itself is full of pigeons, and they don't hesitate to sit on people's palms if tempted with food.
Venice wrapped up the Italy part of my trip - and it was onward to Paris then. The Venice pictures, like all others, are in my picasaweb album.
(French Chamonix, a beautiful little village, in the foothills of Mont Blanc, is next)