It's ridiculous: I know that everybody raves about Venice and that's why I wanted to see it, but I just hadn't expected it to be so totally Venetian all over. Many (most? all other?) cities have lovely but also unlovely parts. Or indeed pleasant but ordinary areas. Venice isn't like that. There's no room on the islands for bungalows or high rise flats - and presumably some far-sighted officials a long time ago recognised the unique quality of what was there and made laws to keep it that way.
Some bits are somewhat scruffy, with peeling paint or plaster. But everywhere is picturesque.
Even St Mark's Square wasn't nearly as busy as I expected. October was a good time to visit: not too hot but still pleasantly warmish.
There were also amazing museums. In the Museo Correr, for example, there was this holy book from the 15th century (and there were many, many other equally old and beautiful books on display).
This is a plate from the Correr Service, made about 1520. Such a cheery lion; clearly a music lover. Imagine eating your food from that! - though I imagine that no one ever did, or the service wouldn't have survived. I love it. (I want it.)
And this painting by Vittore Carpaccio - just look at the expressions on these ladies' faces as they wait for their husbands to come home from hunting. Never was boredom so brilliantly captured - in 1490, and completely recognisable today. Evidently the women were previously thought to be courtesans, but then someone found that this painting is actually the bottom of a painting in the Getty Museum (and the whole left hand side is also missing). The top part shows the hunting. If you'd like to see the two surviving bits married together (I'd recommend it) go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Venetian_Ladies
But also - gondolas.
We went over to the island of Murano, where I went into many, many glass shops (Mr Life is a patient man)
and a glass museum, where you see him doing a passable imitation of those two ladies. He claims he was examining the fancy ceiling.
Murano is also very photogenic.
We also visited the island of Burano, with its gaily painted houses. So unlike Edinburgh, which has grey buildings and lots of gardens. Grey and green. We saw no gardens in Venice and therefore hardly any birds except pigeons - not even sea birds, which was surprising.
It does have palazzos, though - palazzi, I suppose - of which this is one. It's now a museum and is HUGE. Those dukes must have been immensely rich. Can you see Mr L, in blue, at the very far end of the room, reading a notice?
And, you know, gondoliers.
And Canaletto, wherever you look.