Venice is an atmospheric maze. You're guaranteed to lose yourself (intentionally or otherwise) down labyrinthine side streets away from the city's main drag. En route to a whispered-about restaurant owned by a nonna and nonno, we pass the Piazza San Marco - of silver-screen fame - which appears more and more charming each time we see it.
Rising early the next day, we take a stroll along the water's edge, clouds of morning mist shielding us from snap-happy sightseers. Gondoliers ready themselves for the day, donning furlane slippers and fixing their straw hats decorated with red-and-white grosgrain ribbon.
As we float past Byzantine and Renaissance architecture, and sail by umpteen palazzi and twice as many piazze, the storied city's allure is palpable.