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Venice Celebration

I will be in Venice in about a week to celebrate my mother's birthday as part of a larger Italy trip. I am looking for two suggestions: 1) A nice restaurant - not crazy expensive, but some place with "atmosphere" - we're all adventurous, and 2) A Gondola ride - I know, tourist, but it is my mother's life long dream to have a romanic ride in Venice. Any thoughts or suggestions would be most welcome. Thank you.

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The first time we went to Venice we made the mistake of not taking a gondola ride soon enough. I recommend taking a gondola ride within 24 hours of arriving, no longer. It is part of the magic. Day trips are more reasonable. I just brought my mother and mother-in-law there in May (their first trip) and it cost me 100 euro during the day. It was about 1/2 hour. There are several prime locations to catch the gondolas. I personally don't like starting on the grand canal, I like the back canals. There is a good location to catch a ride, I will try to describe. If you are in San Marco square facing the basilica, walk to the corner of the square that would be to your back left. Good luck, enjoy. It is breath-taking.