When in Venice you're sure to end up in St. Mark's Square at least once. Glittering with gold and bronze, the square is simultaneously deeply impressive and completely overwhelming. Beyond the huge crowds, you have to weigh the cost of long lines (St. Mark's Basilica) or high prices (Doge's Palace and any of the fancy cafes.) But if you have the time and the means, a nice way to spend a few hours in Venice is a drink at Cafe Florian followed by a visit to the Basilica.
One of the oldest cafes in all of Europe, Florian was once frequented by the likes of Casanova and Lord Byron. Its easy to see why. The gilded cafe is over the top romantic. But you pay out the nose for the atmosphere. When the weather's amenable a string quartet plays in the courtyard, and it's not free. Not only is a cover charge added to your bill if you sit outside, but indoor diners are charged too. Those big, beautiful windows let in the light and the music from the square after all.