"There's a miraculous strangeness about seeing this city rise up out of the water. I was there in August for the Venice Film Festival and the screening of my new film, The Wings of the Dove. Several scenes take place in Venice-- we risked offending the locals. So it was a victory to hear the audience shout 'Brava, signorina' at the end. I felt like an opera singer." The Wings of the Dove opens in the United States this month.
Stay at: Hotel des Bains (17 Lungomare Marconi, Lido). They pamper you at the pool.
Eat at: Arcimboldo (Calle dei Furlani, Castello). Try the special appetizer-- a marinated fish.
Day trip: Take a gondola to the islands. Torcello has a seventh-century cathedral with Byzantine mosaics, and Burano is a fishing village with a long history of making Venetian lace.
Speed limit: Venice is soothing because you travel by boat and there's no going fast.
Don't forget to pack: Band-Aids (I didn't know how to ask for them in Italian!) and a great pair of sunglasses-- especially if there happens to be a film festival going on.