I've always been intrigued by Venice, but was not expecting to fall head-over-heels in love with the place. Which is what happened during our brief visit.
We arrived around 7 one evening (fortunately room reservations being made in advance) and left just about 24 hours later. But that was long enough for it to become one of my absolute favorite cities.
(A return visit took over 10 years to accomplish, but we did go back, for another, sadly, all-too-brief visit in 2008.)
In 1996, we parked in Mestre, on the mainland, and took a vaporetto across the lagoon. On the right is the first picture we took there, and our parking ticket.
On the left is a view which must have been from our hotel room window.
We stayed at the Hotel Noemi, which looks much fancier now (at least going by the website) than I remember it. But it was reasonably comfortable and we didn't spend too much time in the room anyway.
We walked around and had a wonderful late dinner that evening. Then Henry & Kathy were up early to go see the Doge's Palace on St. Mark's Square, very near the hotel. The kids opted to sleep in but joined us later for some wonderful random wanderings and a few more structured excursions.
St. Mark's (San Marco) Piazza is an amazing place, even when you don't have time to go into many of the buildings that surround it.
And, of course, there were pigeons to feed there for Sally. (Which is something you can't—legally—do now!)
We were able to get fabulous views of the Piazza from across the water at the Palladian masterpiece of San Giorgio. Our excursion over there, and our climb up its tower, was a highlight of our Venice visit.
Here are some panoramic shots from this vantage point. As you can see, the Campanile on the Piazza was undergoing some refurbishment work while we were there...
San Giorgio Maggiore
is a lovely structure, in addition to providing such great views. Here are two shots of it, one from sidewalk level in the Piazza....
... and one from a higher level, probably looking out from the Doge's Palace...
Here's another great shot of Santa Maria della Salute, also from upstairs in the Doge's Palace.
We didn't go inside this lovely church in 1996, but did in 2008. You can see some interior photos here.
It was so hard to leave this magical place after such a short introduction!
But at least when you leave it via the Grand Canal, you have great views all the way out...