The water buses are packed, but we were always first on to the second boat. We bought two one-way tickets for much less than a 4 hour pass. However, I picked the wrong direction (not the Grand Canal way) and we got the long tour of the cruise ship terminals, etc.
Weirdest was the mix of modern flavor. The courtyard had a definite Renaissance feel, whereas the clocks and council chambers could have been from the senate building today. The clocks with Roman numerals used IIII instead of IV. Also ironic, they seemed most often used the Arabic numbering system of their military opponents. Their rulership seemed enlightened and tolerant, but they had secret branches of the government. Some of the daggers in the armory were specifically designed for assassins. I wonder if people will see the same contradictions in our culture when they tour our ruins.