We arrive in Venice by train and step out into the sunshine along the Grand Canal. Our view across the canal into the city is dominated by an eighteenth-century church, the Chiesa de San Simeon Piccolo.
We turn left along the canal for a short distance, passing the Chiesa Santa Maria degli Scalzi – don't be tempted to go inside, it's insanely over the top Baroque and we want to save ourselves for other, better churches so as not to get altarpiece fatigue –
until we reach the Ponte degli Scalzi, a footbridge across the canal, taking a moment to enjoy the view along the canal.
On the other side we proceed straight down the Calle Lunga, a narrow alleyway, and then turn left down the even narrower Calle Bergami S. Croce. This brings us to a narrow canal called the Rio Marin. We cross the canal on a small bridge and turn right down an embankment called the Fondamenta Garzotti.
We pass the sixteenth-century Palazzo Soranzo Capello, which these days houses the district superintendent of archaeology and historic buildings. Nice office space.
It also has a spiffy garden where I suppose the archaeologists lunch on nice days.
Continuing along the Rio Marin we cross the canal on another delightful bridge and turn right onto the Calle de l'Ogio
This brings us after a short distance to the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, founded as a confraternity in the 13th century and now an art museum.
Inside are many treasures, should you be in a museum mood.
From there it's just a short stroll to our first really famous monument, the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. Perhaps it's not so spectacular on the outside, but on the inside –
This is a temple of art, and of artists. The most famous work is Titian's Assumption of the Virgin but there are so many
and tombs – Titian is buried here, along with many other Venetian grandees.
From the Basilica we turn down the Campo dei friari toward the ponte dei friari.
We cross the bridge over the Rio dei Friari and turn right on the embankment called the Fondamenta dei Friari – really the friars seem to have dominated this whole neighborhood.
Then left down the Rio Tera Caza, which I suppose must be a filled-in canal, then through a warren of narrow alleys to the Rio de San Polo
Which we cross on the Ponte San Polo
Into the Campo San Polo, one of Venice's largest squares
There is another famous church here, Chiesa Rettorale de San Polo,
full of paintings by Tiepolo and so on.
But we must scurry onward to the famous Ponte de Rialto, completed in 1591, and there cross the Grand Canal again.
Here we take a bit of a detour, turning left through the Campo San Bartolomeo
And crossing two more small canals to come to a little Venetian wonder, the Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli, built in 1481-1489, a Renaissance masterpiece.
From there we walk south along the Rio della Fava (the Canal of the Bean), passing Santa Maria della Fava (St. Mary of the Bean – really)
and make our way down the Calle Flubera to the Calle Dei Fabbri, cross a small bridge where all the gondoliers will harass us and promise us the best, most wonderful tour of the city
and into the heart of it all, the Piazza San Marco
Here we behold the wonders of the Doges' Palace
And the Basilica of St. Mark, built in the 11th century
When Venice was still in thrall to Byzantium.
Of course they loved Byzantium so much that in 1204 they sacked the city – maybe this was their way of announcing they had achieved adulthood and no longer needed a parent city to guide them – and brought home many treasures, most famously these four horses that became their symbol.
You are perhaps thinking by now that this must have been some hike, but the whole route laid out here is, according to Google, less than 4 miles (6 km). With a break for lunch, which we will of course take, it would be an easy day's stroll, so many wonders are packed into the little space of Venice.