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VENICE; One city.. and 3 prices to see it.

Bargain basement

WHERE TO STAY

THE four-star Le Boulevard Hotel on Lido Island near the casino, the beach and just a short water taxi ride from Venice. COST: From pounds 25 per person per night when two share through www.hotels.com

SIGHTSEEING

LIVE like the locals and take the water bus. There are various ticket options including an unlimited pounds 30 ticket which lasts 72 hours. Take the No1 route for a slow trip down the Grand Canal. You'll stop at every landing stage but you'll see the lot. If there's time have a day trip to the nearby islands of Murano, famous for glass, or nearby Burano and Torcello. Entry into St Mark's basilica is free but be prepared to queue and keep the noise down when mass is on. Watch out for flooding - St Mark's Square is one of the city's lowest-laying points and you be knee deep in water around November. Ramps are put up but they don't always cover the entire area. Don't fret, it isn't sinking. COST: pounds 10 per day.

FOR KIDS

BRACE yourself for a re-run of The Birds horror movie and feed the pigeons in St Mark's Square. If you get bored visiting all those churches and galleries have a peek at Squero di San Trovaso in the Dorsoduro area where gondolas are given a face-lift. COST: Free.

EATING OUT

FILL up on the mouth-watering ice cream that is piled high in enticing colours and flavours. A cone with one scoop is about pounds 1. Or you can get a slice of pizza for about pounds 1.50 from a takeaway. COST: pounds 1.50 per snack.

NIGHTLIFE

PUT your flat shoes on and go for a stroll just people-watching.Take a water bus trip down the canal and mingle with Venetians returning from a hard day's work. COST: pounds 4.50 for water bus ticket.

TOTAL COST... around pounds 40 per person per day

On a budget

WHERE TO STAY

THE Do Pozzi is a small hotel in Via XXII Marzo, a five-minute stroll from St Mark's Square. Rooms either overlook a quiet courtyard or a street with a stunning view of an ice cream parlour. The rooms are clean and cosy with TV and helpful English-speaking staff. COST: pounds 65 per person per night when booked through www.thomsoncities.co.uk or 0044 870 606 1476 (or book as part of a Thomson Cities' two-night package with flights from London at around pounds 400pp until Dec 26).

SIGHTSEEING

VISIT the Peggy Guggenheim Museum by Accademia bridge. It is home to some of the finest paintings and sculpture of modern times, including Jackson Pollock, Miro and Kandinsky that were collected by the American millionairess. COST: Admission pounds 6.

FOR KIDS

DON'T be tempted by the pushy chaps in stripy jumpers flogging a ride in their gondola for about pounds 1.50 a minute. If the weather is good take a water bus over to the Lido and have a day on the beach. Life may have changed slightly since the grand days evoked in the movie Death In Venice but it is still a fun change from city life across the water. COST: Water bus to the Lido: pounds 3

EATING OUT

ONE thing is for sure, there is no shortage of great places to eat. The best bet is to work out which area you'd like to see early evening then stroll over at your own pace. Some places offer fixed-priced menus at pounds 12 for two courses or pounds 18 for three. Book a table during the busy months. COST: From pounds 18.

NIGHTLIFE

POP into one of the thousands of tiny inconspicuous bars and get four glasses of wine for a fiver! Or look out for concerts in one of the city's churches. COST: Concert tickets about pounds 7.50.

TOTAL COST... around pounds 90 per person per day

Break the bank

WHERE TO STAY

THE four-star Hotel Palace Bonvecchiati, 200 metres from

St Mark's Square and five from the Rialto Bridge, is ultrastylish. The bathrooms have huge baths, power showers and are groaning with free toiletries. There's a great American breakfast and a cosy bar and it even has its own private water landing for gondolas and motor boats. COST: B&B pounds 70 per person per night when two share through www.hotelclub.co.uk or call 0044 175 328 8952.

SIGHTSEEING

THE Ca' Rezzonico is one of the most splendid buildings in Venice. The rooms are furnished with huge frescos and paintings, antique furniture, chandeliers and luxurious fabrics, while the shop has one of the most tempting ranges of glass jewellery that you will see in Venice, with gorgeous earrings from pounds 10 a pair or fork out a little more for matching necklaces. COST: Ca' Rezzonico entrance pounds 7.

FOR KIDS

LET them loose in the Doge's Palace prisons and armoury just off St Mark's Square. They can scare each other witless with the maze of dungeons and spine-chilling weapons from days gone by. Or watch a glassmaking demonstration over on Murano. COST: Entrance to the Doge's Palace is pounds 11.

EATING OUT

TRY the terrace restaurant at the Daniele hotel just off St Mark's Square for a special lunch. You get an incredible panoramic view of the city and surrounding islands. COST: A two-course lunch costs about pounds 45pp without wine.

NIGHTLIFE

AT this end of the price scale a great dinner is probably the best evening's entertainment. Book early and treat yourself at Da Fiore. This is a smart, small restaurant tucked away in the tiny Calle dello Scaleter. The pasta melts in your mouth and the fritto misto (mixed seafood in batter) is eight inches high. COST: around pounds 70 plus per head.

TOTAL COST... around pounds 200 per person per day

GETTING THERE

TAKE an afternoon Eurostar from London to Paris (pounds 90 return) then the sleeper to Venice (from pounds 78) through www.raileurope.

CAPTION(S):

Take a gondola... Rialto Bridge on Venice's Grand Canal Main picture: WORLD PICTURES' Nice... Le Boulevard' Nicer... Do Pozzi' Nicest... Bonvecchiati
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 12, 2006
Words:1019
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