Day 2: Venice
We spent the majority of our morning and early afternoon in St. Mark's Square because there is so much to see. We started at St. Mark's Basilica, which is free to enter, but you could be stuck waiting over an hour to get in. It's worth the €2 to purchase "skip the line" tickets before your visit. We bought ours that morning and had no problem reserving a convenient time. Once you've sufficiently ogled the intricate mosaics of the basilica, take the stairs up to the St. Mark's Museum (€5), which gives you access to the rooftop balcony and impressive views of St. Mark's Square and the Grand Canal. Make note: all places of worship that you may visit in Italy require modest dress. This means knees and shoulders must be covered for both men and women. Most of the major tourist sites offer complimentary paper scarves if you show up in short shorts or a midriff, but plan to cover up just in case.
Our next stop was Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale), which we had already purchased tickets for as a part of our City Pass. The palace is huge and ornate and was once the religious and government center of Venice, as well as the home of the doge (duke). Most interesting to me was the Bridge of Sighs, the bridge connecting the palace to the (no longer in use) prison. Legend has it that prisoners would sigh as they stole their final glimpse of freedom before entering the prison.