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Five things to do in Venice

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1. Dorsoduro. Stay in this less touristy, peaceful area where you can walk to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Gallerie dell'Accademia and Punta della Dogana. Visit one of the small bars such as Osteria Al Squero, where you can sip a spritz on the canal wall overlooking the city's oldest gondola yard.

2. Biennale. Take in the world's grandest art event, held every two years (alternating with a not very interesting architectural Biennale). The next one will be held in 2017 from May to November. Visit the gorgeous national pavilions in the Giardini, the Arsenale and grandiose palaces. There is even a biennale vaporetto (water bus) to take you to the different venues.

3. Punta della Dogana. When you can't take any more renaissance or baroque art, visit the often haunting modern and contemporary collection assembled by the French billionaire Francois Pinault that is set in the former customs building spectacularly restored by the acclaimed Japanese architect Tadao Ando and diagonally opposite St Mark's Square.

Venice

4. San Giorgio Maggiore bell tower. Visit the island by vaporetti and take the lift in the bell tower of the 16th-century Benedictine church for a view of spectacular Venice. No wait and only 6 euros (about $9.50).

5. Giudecca. Take a vaporetto to this long, quiet island. Visit La Palanca for lunch (vaporetto stop is Palanca) with fabulous views across the Giudecca Canal. The locals eat here and Andrea, the host, is always friendly.

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.
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