We're leaving for Italy in 3 weeks and I need to work out the final bugs in our itinerary by Tues. p.m. I don't know what we can realistically see in Venice in under 48 hours and would greatly appreciate your advice on this tentative itinerary.
Fri. June 3rd - Tour St. Mark's Square and Basilica (9:45-4:30; visit it when lit up - Mon-Fri 11:30-12:30, all day Sat?). Doge's Palace Secret Itinerary tour (75 min, daily 9:55, 10:35?, 11:45; 12.50 euro for tour + 11 euro combo ticket for Palace which includes the Correr Museum; daily 9-7). Take vaporetto to Burano. After dark: listen to the dueling caf�� orchestras on St. Mark���s Square.
Sat. June 4th - Visit the Rialto Fish and Produce Market, (8-noon) near Rialto Bridge, on San Polo side. Visit Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (9-6; 2.50 euro). Look through mask, other interesting shops. Take gondola ride if we can find another 2-3 people to split the cost and negotiate a lower price on a back canal. Visit the church on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore (9:30-12:30, 2:30-6:30) and climb bell tower (3 euro). Take 5:34 IC train from Venice Mestre station to Florence, arriving 8:26 (2:52; 21.75 euro).
My main questions are: 1) Is it worth waiting until Saturday to tour St. Mark's Basilica to see it lit up and is it lit up all day Sat. or only from 11:30-4:30 like one guidebook says? How long of a wait in line can we anticipate?
2) Would we have time to take a trip to the island of Burano (how often to vaporettos depart and return; how long to get there) and is it worth going to if I'm mainly interested in taking some photos of the painted houses? Does a vaporetto pass cover trips to Murano and Burano?
3) Considering that our hotel is on Lido, is it worth buying a 3-day vaporetto pass for 22 euro or would another option be cheaper? Does a pass include luggage? Are there discounts available for my 21-year-old son either in the form of transportation or admissions if all he has is a US passport? He doesn't have a current student ID card although he'll be going back to college in the fall. Will we be doing mostly walking once we get to the San Marco area or is it quicker/easier to catch a vaporetto to head to different districts?
4) Is the Secret Itinerary tour really worth the extra cost?
5) Other churches I've heard mentioned in guidebooks are Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Should we try to fit these in or leave something out from the above itinerary?
6) Is there a certain area we can go to find a range of interesting shops (mainly for looking, not for buying)?
7) Is the church and bell tower worth seeing on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore?
8) Any good restaurant recommendations near our hotel on the Lido or near some of the sights we're going to?
9) If our train arrives and departs from the Mestre station, can we get on and off at the Santa Lucia station?
10) Is the produce/fish market worth visiting in our limited time?
11) What would you change to make this itinerary better, cause less back tracking, etc.?
Thanks a lot for your help with the above questions!!