All good rules are meant to be broken. The perfect example is the #1 rule of visiting Venice: There is more to Venice than Piazza San Marco. The fact is, however, that there are some amazing sights in and around San Marco, and you just have to take your patience pills and plunge into this beehive of activity. Started this morning in San Marco around 10:30am. The pigeons are up. The crowds are manageable. People are laughing. Did a three-in-one museum stop in the imposing stone buildings surrounding the square: the Museo Correr (focused on the grand Venetian history and art), the Museo Archeologico (lots of Greek statues), and the Biblioteca Mariana (Venetian records and books). Had pizza and gnocci nearby for lunch. Returned to San Marco to visit the impressive Doge's Palace, the seat of Venetian power for centuries. The palace truly reflects the once-great wealth of Venice, with gilded ceilings and enormous paintings. Adjacent to the palace across the romantically named 'Bridge of Sighs' is the former prison...cold and gloomy. Let's just say that the prison cell ceilings are NOT gilded with gold leaf. Took a break from San Marco and walked to the train station to reserve seats to Milano tomorrow on the Eurostar. Afterwards had gelato near the Friary and then beers out on Campo S. Margherita at Orange. Returned to Rosa Rossa for dinner (more Chianti, pizza, and tiramisu). Then wandered back over to San Marco for a totally different experience. San Marco is at its best at night. The crowds and tour groups are gone, and the remaining visitors are finally relaxing. Everything is alive with music and light and food and drinks and laughter and dancing. After an hour or so of strolling and picture taking, left San Marco to head back to the hotel. Decided to visit Santa Maria della Salute one last time. A total opposite from San Marco, Campo della Salute and the narrow streets to and from it were vacant and absolutely silent. Sigh. We will miss Venice.