There is a great deal to be seen in Venice itself and also in the northern islands in the lagoon.  First time visitors always head straight for the St. Marks area but there are many places of high quality to visit that are not so over-crowded with visitors. There is a great deal to explore in Venice once you get away from the immediate neighbourhood of Piazza San Marco, beautiful though both the Basilica and the Doge's Palace are.  Venice is well worth just walking around to the far corners - which are not far away - and you will come across many unsuspected and delightful aspects of Venice.

Try the church of the Madonna dell' Orto in the north of Venice in Cannaregio. Fantastic church with many works painted by Tintoretto. You can catch the vaporetto up there or walk. The walk can take you through the first Ghetto, and the quiet alleyways off the beaten track whose exterior is magical. 

Almost true to say the further you go from San Marco the more interesting it becomes.  Down in the far west of Dorsoduro is the lovely old church of San Nicolo dei Mendicoli, built  first in the 7th century but substantially rebuilt in the 13th century in a Veneto-Byzantine style with a 15th century Loggia which used to serve as a shelter for the homeless and destitute.  A splendid interior, handsome with work from the 12th to 17th century.

Even more spectacular is the nearby San Sebastiano whose exterior is architecturally rather dull but whose interior is magnificent. It is largely decorated by Veronese for whom this was his parish church.  The newly renovated Sacristy should not be missed.

At the other end of the Dorsoduro in the east is Santa Maria della Salute.  Built in the Baroque style in 1631-81 in thanksgiving for Venice surviving the great plague of 1630.   An especially fine collection of art by Titian, Tintoretto, Palma il Giovanne etc.

In San Polo the Frari and the adjacent Scuola Grand di San Rocco are not to be missed.  The former is an austere. Franciscan gothic church on the exterior, a rebuilding of c. 1390 - 1490 but inside it is full of fine sculptures and paintings by Titian, Govanni Bellini and others.   Whilst the Scuola was founded in the 15th century but the present building, was designed by Bartolomeo Bon and Scarpagno and built at the beginning of the 16th century and completely decorated by Tintoretto between 1565 and 1587.

If you travel further to the island of Murano, by the Linea N or 41/42 vaporetto lines, you will find Santa Maria e Donato, a beautiful 11th century Veneto-Byzantine style church with a superb mosaic floor of 1140 AD.  It lies close to the pleasant small Museo dell'Arte Vetrario in Palazzo Giustinian close to the vaporetto landing stage Museo.

Even further away on the far northern island of Torcello is the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, built 638AD as the first cathedral of the lagoon with additions in the 11th century.  Sensationally good mosaics on the floor and the walls dating variously from 9th to 13th century.  Close by is the round church of Santa Fosca built at the end of the 11th century, probably by Greek workers or certainly by those influenced by Byzantine architectural styles. Torcello can be reached by the Linea T vaporetto sailing from Burano.