Alessandro: When you come here to the bar, you have to order what they find in the market in the morning; has to be fresh. This exquisite, professional, and small hotel has nine plush rooms, a velvety royal living/breakfast room, and its own dock for water taxi arrivals. I have taken one tour - and that was the 14 Family Europe Rick steve’s Tour , with one of my three kids ( my 11 yr old daughter ) . In the Dorsoduro district, you can visit the workshop of Saverio Pastor, another fórcola maker, who has scale models for sale one canal east of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection; detour south along Fondamenta Soranzo de la Fornace to #341). Scandinavia Visiting, you can imagine it as Peggy's retirement dream home — with the heiress and her Picassos greeting guests in the entryway. Where the Grand Canal opens up into the lagoon stands one of Venice's most distinctive landmarks, the church dedicated to Santa Maria della Salute, Our Lady of Health. Adjacent, Giovanni Bellini's Madonna and Saints was painted by the father of the Venetian Renaissance in a softer, more Venetian style. The Republic's fortified shipyard, with 3,000 workers using an early form of assembly-line production and standardized parts, it could produce one warship a day. The sprawling palace is a maze of richly decorated rooms. To cross the Grand Canal where there's no bridge handy, save time and energy by hopping a traghetto — one of the ferry gondolas, which shuttle pedestrians back and forth at strategic locations. Its formidable navy saw lots of action. Find a gondolier whose personality you enjoy, settle on a price, and hop in. These much-coveted and exquisitely cast bronze horses are a trophy befitting the city's power. Over the high altar, glowing red and gold like a stained-glass window, Titian's Assumption of the Virgin Mary sets the tone of exuberant beauty found in this church. Opponents of the government were dealt with swiftly and decisively. The remains of St. Mark lie beneath the high altar. But, with their natural lagoon defenses, Venetian palazzos could be sumptuous rather than fortified. Verona, Italy: Joy of the Veneto by Rick Steves' Europe. Took this tour about 12 years ago . To gain religious importance and a kind of legitimacy, the Venetians needed some important relics. A tower has stood here, like an exclamation point, proclaiming the power and greatness of the Venetian Empire, for 1,200 years. You can pop in to watch Paolo carving both fórcole and traditional oars. Here's a breakdown of a few of the must-do's he points out while visiting the city in this episode of "Rick Steves' Europe." For an ear-shattering experience, be here at the top of the hour. From his once-lavish (now sparse) quarters, you'll follow the one-way tour through the public rooms of the top floor, finishing with the Bridge of Sighs and the prison. And, in good medieval style, they come with religious lessons. Technically, he was a noble selected by other nobles to oversee the carrying out of their laws and decisions. At this hotel, I'm splurging to enjoy that prince for a day feeling in the lounge, a bedroom with all the comforts, and a terrace with a view of the Grand Canal. For a break from sightseeing — and a fun meal — explore the back lanes, and pop into a bar serving cicchetti — that's the uniquely Venetian hors d'oeuvres. Its lacy exterior, a distinct blend of east and west, is Venetian Gothic. A palace served all the family's needs — import/export warehouse at water level, business offices above that, and plush living quarters above that — all under one roof. They're built with a slight curve, so that a single oar on the side propels them in a straight line. France While the Arsenale is still a military base and is therefore closed to the public, its massive and evocative gate, the Porta Magna, is worth a look (to see the gate, turn left at the Naval Museum and follow the canal). Rick Steves, Venice Bites Updates . Alessandro: With your finger, with your wine, yeah. From here, you can see how Venice is an island lying in the center of a vast lagoon. But I particularly enjoy seeing art in the setting for which it was designed — that's in situ — like at the Chiesa dei Frari. Enjoy the building. With Rick Steves’ Venice 2007, travelers can experience everything Venice has to offer—economically and hassle-free.