This morning, we decided to tackle St. Mark's Basilica after breakfast. We walked over, and now that Mike had pointed out the secret to not standing in line (checking your backpack across the street and going right up to the head of the line!) we went right in and let Rick Steve take us around with his podcast, which was great. There is so much to see and you must look up - way up - to see all the great art and decoration. The entrance to the Basilica (not cathedral since it was the Doge's private chapel and housed the stolen bones of St. Mark - this way the Pope could not command the bishop to send them back to Alexandria) is free, but there is an additional entrance fee to see the Golden Altarpiece and St. Mark's resting place, and then another extra fee to go upstairs and see the original (stolen) bronze horses and the best view of St. Mark's Square. That was fabulous!
We had lunch nearby and walked back to our hotel for a rest before going back out to search for Venetian glass and a gondola ride. We found both - a shop where a husband and wife made glass jewelry and a gondolier who took us for for a great gondola ride, both on the Grand Canal and on many side canals.
Dinner was early, at a Trattoria that opened early for us (at the request of our concierge) so that we could get to the opera, "La Traviata" at the Scuola San Giovanni Baptista in San Polo. The trattoria was excellent and felt nicely local, as well as very reasonably priced. We did get to the opera, although we got a bit lost, and we don't know how anyone was supposed to know where the entrance was - but people were going in so we did too. The opera was upstairs in the guild hall, and was simple, with semi-modern dinner dress. It was in Italian and we are not familiar with the story, except a quick read of the synopsis, and could not follow the story. However, the production was excellent, and the music wonderful. By intermission, we were thoroughly confused, and decided to leave. (The heroine died in the end - that much we know.) Now we got really lost in the drizzling rain (very misty) and well-lit, but dark, streets, found the vaporetto stop - except there was a very reduced schedule. We ended up taking one in the opposite direction to where we knew our way back by foot and got to the hotel just fine.