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1st Time to Europe

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Hi, it has been quite an experience reading all of your posts. :) I am planning a trip to Italy in May with my 9 year old son. We are house sitting in Verona but hope to get out and see some of the Country as well as possibly Spain, Greece, & France.
I would hate to waste anyones time. It has been said that one should research their trip better. Do you have any suggestions on where to begin that research? I have been all over the internet and am worried about the sites being legitimate.
Also, curious about buying train tickets from the US in advance or should we wait until we arrive in Italy? I've seen several options to purchase the select "4 or 5" country pass or "1" Country, is there a better, less expensive way?
I read a post about Soccer matches, We are extreme soccer fanatics here at home and are basing a lot of our trip on seeing the true origin and culture of the sport abroad. Any tips on seeing matches to my 9 year old being able to train or play would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all for your time.

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