If you visit during the right time of year -- preferably months that don't rhyme with "dune," "reply" or "dog guest" -- Venice is one of the most enchanting, romantic and remarkable cities in the world. That's when the city's 60,000 full-time residents go about their daily routine of eating delicious regional cuisine, wandering through world-class museums and hanging out in the Piazza San Marco sipping cappuccino and eating gelato.
Or at least that's what we assume the locals do. We've never seen an actual local, because like the rest of the world's tourists, we visit Venice during the summer, when it's hot, smelly and teeming with loud Americans complaining about the price of a gondola ride.
Speaking of complaining about gondola rides, have you seen the price of a gondola ride? Eighty euros ($107) will buy you and five friends 40 minutes on the crowded Grand Canal. The price jumps to 100 euros after 7 p.m. And if you want the gondolier to sing a romantic tune while you dig through your fanny pack for more traveler's checks, that's going to cost you extra, of course [source: Concierge.com].
The moral of the story: If you don't want to be treated like a tourist, don't visit Venice in August, or take the water bus like a local, wherever they are.