Bologna, as it turns out, is only 1 1/2 hrs by train to Venice, and 30 min to Florence.  Great!  We decided to take advantage of the closeness and schedule a few side trips.  I was last in Venice in 1999 and remembered loving the city.  It did not disappoint this time either, and I had fun remembering certain sights, restaurants, and memories.

There was a ton of kid appeal to the fact that ALL traffic in Venice was boat traffic.  Even things like the garbage "boat" fascinated the kids for long periods of time.  We often had to drag them away from bridges with the promise of other boats to come.  They especially liked the gondolas, which we could not afford to ride, but we did take a water "bus" at the end of the day.  Here's the family under the Rialto Bridge.

 And on top of the bridge

We ended up getting lunch from a grocery store and finding a cute square (with pidgins, of course) to eat in.  Again, highlights for the kids were little things, like pizza and strawberries and oreos for lunch.
 Ben also found his favorite spot (after the bridges of course)...a gelato store with a big ice cream cone trash can out front!  I had to work hard to keep the kids from actually licking the trash can...

 Another view of the Rialto Bridge over Venice's Grand Canal
 One of Venice's many beautiful bridges.  Amazing that the buildings come right up out of the water.  And part of a gondola sailing away under the bridge...

 We walked from the train station to St. Mark's Square...it took awhile but the walk was part of the fun.  The cathedral was as grand and gilded as I remembered it being.  We decided not to climb the tower or go into Doge's Palace, instead spending more time in the cathedral and by the water.

 Finally, we headed back to the train station via the public transportation system...a boat bus.  It was a fun and cheaper way to get a canal cruise.  The kids also loved this part.
 After a long day of walking, we enjoyed the last of the Oreos on the train ride home.  Good job, kids!