Taking a vacation to Venice can be a real pain in the ass. Tourists flock to the watery city like like fire ants on a fallen sandwich. Every restaurant is overpriced. The place floods all the time. But you can now avoid all those annoyances thanks to Google Street View.
Everybody's favorite (sometimes creepy) world-mapping service just launched a new portal for Venice. Google actually put the Street View cameras in gondolas to capture the same breath-taking views that honeymooners pay thousands and thousands of dollars to see. Top attractions like St. Mark's Square, the Rialto Bridge and the Venetian Arsenal are all flagged and annotated with some basic historical information. You can even explore the city using a beautiful map from 1838. (See below.)
Of course, this is just one of many points of interest around the world that Google's gone the extra mile to document with their Street View technology. At this point, you can use Google Street View to explore everything from the Galapagos Islands to the Large Hadron Collider. Oh, and then there are the places that aren't very easy to see in real life at all, like the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Mt. Everest, or Japan's Akiyoshi-do Cavern (which also includes a tour of the old Okubo-mabu mine).
Obviously, nothing is as good as the real thing. But when you can sit on your couch in your underwear and cruise around the city of water, it's a pretty cool and convenient alternative. Don't forget to wear your Eyes Wide Shut mask.