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15-18 day in italy! the most exciting planning phase begins now!

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Hello everyone,

We have decided to visit Italy next summer (mid june, 2015), and I am super excited! My kids will be 5 and 9 at that time - old enough that I don't have carry diapers and not worry about afternoon naps, but not that old that we can do museums all day :)

High level thinking so far:
- fly into rome. spend 3-5 days there. rent a car on last day.
- spend 5-7 days in tuscany. stay put in a central location and do day trips to all the pretty towns.
- I am not sure whether to add venice for last 4-5 days or go to coast.

Kids are good with couple of hours of hiking, love ocean, cafes. I know it will be impossible to avoid crowds, but if there are other options with lesser crowds - I am willing to save vanice for another time.

Also, when would be a good time to book airline tickets and hotels?

Many thanks,
m

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