On the way to Venice, we stopped by Verona to check out the Roman arena where those famous opera´s are held. Not as big as we expected but still, it looks great for a place that's a couple of thousand years old!
We had a difficult time finding a place to stay near Venice. Don't bother going down to Fusina even though you can catch a ferry from there. However, the area along the river Brenta around Dolo and Mira turned out to be quite nice and we eventually stumbed upon a gem of a place called Villa Ducale.
It the past, many wealthy Venetians built elaborate villa's along the Brenta. Villa Ducale is a modest villa that's been converted into a three star hotel. Our bedroom was very atmospheric and even had two chandeliers made from murano glass. Dinner was very good and the help we received from Elisa was exceptional. I would highly recommend the place. Our family room was only 120 euros.
From Villa Ducale, we caught the bus in to Plaza Roma at the top of the Grand Canal. Another option is to take a ferry from Fusina. Then we caught the No 1 waterbus down the Grand Canal to San Marco Square. The kids were more impressed with feeding the pigeons than the elegance of Venice! Arrghh. We did a guided tour walking around Venice which gave us a bunch of information but wasn't very engaging. We went through the basillica too quickly. The kids held up well and became much more animated when they had a chance to shop after the tour. Venice overflows with interesting things to buy. R* loved the masks and K* loved all the glass. So as far as I can tell, pigeons and shopping were the highlight of the day.
We're now in Salzburg and luckily, our hotel has a computer on the Internet we can use. We're also thankful for the change in cuisine as Italian food was getting rather repetitive. It's very hard to find other ethnic cuisines in Northern Italy.