Take the train to Padova to see the beautifully restored Scrovigni
Chapel, Giotto's masterwork.
Purchase a double ticket online (but I usually phone and talk to a
real person since I want multiple tours) timed toward the end of
the day. One time a friend and I got three tours because the last
group for the day was small and they just let us stay.
You will have 20 minutes only per tour, and the chapel air is
cleansed between groups. If you have a double tour (two tickets,
full price) they sometimes let you stay between tours, also.
It takes a lot of time to see everything in the museum near the
chapel, and it is helpful to arrive early and go to see the video
about the work first. There is also a demo of materials used to
paint frescos. The gift shop has some wonderful items for children,
and this is one museum that still sells slides (DIA).
You can easily spend a full day in Padova. It is one of the oldest
university towns, and if you walk into the original section, past
the post WWII architecture and grit, and McDonalds on the corner
part of the city, you will be charmed and intrigued to sit in the
square around the official buildings. Plenty of good places to eat.
It is a rich city, so the best shops are also there. Shoppers I know
skip shopping in Venice and get the good quality at a lower price
shopping in Padova.
It is hard to choose, but certainly this is one of my top tops.
Another top in Venice is the Biennale. This is a Biennale year with
Felix Gonzales Torres representing the U.S. Ed Ruscha was last time,
before that it was Fred Wilson, in 01 it was Robert Gober and before
that it was Ann Hamilton. I hope to see this one too...