After about 15 minutes I reached an almost deserted St Mark's square. For anyone who has been to Venice, this is a rare occurrence...but at 8am on a Saturday morning, there were only a few other tourists and quite a few joggers.
St Mark's Basilica - the bench like structures in front of the church are the boards that are laid around the city during the aqua alta so people can still get around when areas of the city flood.
The palace opened at 8.30, and so I was also able to explore without hundreds of other people. The palace also afforded some wonderful views across Venice.
After I left the Doge's Palace, I queued briefly to go into the Basilica. It feels far smaller than some other European and English cathedrals, but the mosaic work is incomparable.
As I left St Mark's Square the crowds were beginning to build, so I made my way back across the Accademia Bridge for views back towards the Doge's Palace and the Campanile.
I met up with my friends for lunch, and as the weather had become so lovely, we decided to hop on a vaporetto and spend the afternoon on Murano (with an obligatory gelati!)
My last view of Venice as we caught the vaporetto back to collect our bags and make our way to the airport. I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to return to visit after so many years, and explore such a wonderful city properly...