Does anybody have any clue as to whether we should stay in Venice proper or near the airport? There is a new Marriott 5 kilometers from the airport. Or one of the hotels on the canals?
All of Venice's attractions are in the city, so that would be the best place to stay. The closer you can get to Piazza San Marco, which is the center of the attractions and the shopping district, the better.
While you are there, don't miss the tour of the Doge's Palace and be sure to go into the Basilica to see the artwork.