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Three Days In Venice...

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Am looking to possibly stay three days in Venice before heading to Trieste to catch a cruise. I have been to both cities before, albeit over 15 years ago. At that time, I know we stayed in Venice itself, but am loathe to remember exactly where. While researching hotel in the Venice area I have seen quite a jump in prices when comparing staying actually in Venice or alternatively staying in Mestre or even Lido. Is it worth anywhere from double to three times the price to actually stay in Venice? I can think of many things to do with that extra money, such as a nice dinner, drinks at the Danieli, etc., but will I regret not staying in closer if I have to pay that extra money to get back to my hotel every night? We have all been in the situation where we stay outside of the city center, or near an airport, because the hotel was nice and cheap, only to find that we end up spending more on transport since we can't just walk or easily get around! Any and all advice is appreciated!

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