In Venice, you must take a gondola ride. It is a little touristy, true, (those red flowers are plastic), but once on board you succumb to the city's beauty and charm.
Our group decided to go together one evening after dinner, so we rented four gondolas and even pooled to hire musicians to ride with us; two guitarists who sang. In the dim light, passing the darkened buildings at water level was stirring; I felt more connected to the city and at the same time more conscious of its fragility.
But once the singers started up, all somber thoughts fled. They were enthusiastic, they were loud, and they were charming with their limited English. The group sang and cheered them on, requesting all the songs we thought they might know. Gondolas passed us, and everyone seemed delighted to participate in the spectacle, a boisterous party on the canal.