We've just returned from Venice, it was lovely and well worth the time. I realised several things while I was out there:
1) I still hate crowds and tourists (wish I could take a tazer on holiday with me)
2) The average American tourist is the most annoying in the world.
3) The Italians are more helpful and friendly than I could have imagined.
4) It's expensive to be trapped on an island who's main income is tourism.
5) Book major attractions off-season and book hotels directly.
We saved a lot of money by booking direct with the hotel and paying cash up front. I seriously recommend the Hotel Locanda Ovidus, the main reason being is that it doesn't look that fancy from the front but once you get to your room you realise how pleasent it is (almost luxury in decoration). The staff were all very helpful, even the night porter was chearful and happy to help, offering several times to make coffee for us early in the morning of our departure before the official breakfast time.
You walk everywhere in Venice, but thats a good thing, and you can't be affraid to get lost, thats half the fun. As one of the staff at the hotel said: "Venice is the best city to get lost in, and if you're truely lost you probably aren't on the island any more."
From country to country communication is varied, I will right another article about this but I can assure you communication was not at all difficult in Venice and they didn't clam up when we used bad Italian.