Finishing our Italian trip in Venice: here are a few sketches about what's going on.

Inevitably, I suppose, it's pretty much wall-to-wall Vivaldi. You'll find performances of the Four Seasons every day, sometimes in several different places; there are occasional concerts featuring his other works. A lot of the music is packaged for tourists rather than for sophisticated classical music listeners: we tried a typical event calling itself "Baroque and Opera" and consisting of one Baroque concerto (surprisingly not by Vivaldi) and a dozen or so favourite arias from Italian opera, performed by musicians in baroque dress. It was done very well, with decent singers and players putting some effort into it - far better than you might expect from the average tourist-oriented same-programme-every-day bash. By the way, Venice's architecture of narrow streets and stone buildings means that you can hear a surprising amount just standing outside the venue.

There's a lovely collection of antique musical instruments at the Chiesa di San Maurizio in San Marco, including various violins and cellos and more obscure instruments such as a Viola d'Amore (seven ordinary strings above the fretboard, and seven sympathetic strings below it), two Lyre Guitars (like a guitar, but with a resonator in the characteristic U shape of the lyre, and with three bass drone strings - a sort of 18th century version of the twin neck guitar used by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin), a rare keyboard hurdy-gurdy and others. We only saw half the collection, which is currently split between two venues; it's due to be reunited soon.

Not exactly classical but something of a musical curiosity is the contest that happens every night between the two (or sometimes three) cafés on opposite sides of St Mark's Square. The Caffé Quadri and Florian's each employs a quintet which plays various "light popular tunes" of the last century: anything from Brahms Hungarian Dances to tunes from West Side Story, Havah Nagilah and, bizarrely, Colonel Bogey. Each band has to outdo the other, which means playing louder, livelier and faster, with success measured by the rate at which people cross the square from one crowd to the other. On our nights here, Florian's was the clear winner, possibly more due to the attractive blonde violinist than to the merits of the music. Venetians tell the story that in his less misanthropic moments, Richard Wagner (who lived his last years in Venice) used to go and conduct the café bands on the square.

But our first prize for Venetian music went to the busker standing at the top of the Rialto playing various popular classics (Ave Maria, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring etc.) on the oboe, with a CD for accompaniment. He was a small, quiet-looking elderly gentleman playing beautifully with the sweetest tone. What fascinated us was this: every child that went by was drawn to the music - the parents would stop to listen for a moment and expect to move on, and the children would drag them back to listen for just a little longer. We stayed for ages, a real treat.