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3 week itinerary for Italy (excluding Rome/Pisa)

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Hi everyone,
Planning another 3 week trip to Europe in September for my Godmother / myself. I have been to Europe 3 times before and have done independent tours travelling by air/train in between cities and doing the Hop off/Hop on Tours in each city and the rest by bus, private tour, or on foot. I am NOT comfortable driving in another country and don't want the added stress that comes with it so not sure I'm interested in any driving. Most important to add to our 3 week itinerary is Florence/Milan/Venice. We've already been to Rome (twice) / Pisa. We are interested in culture / museums / monuments / cathedrals - popular tourist spots in any city we visit. We prefer to travel independently like we have in the past flying / taking train / local transportation, doing the Hop on Hop off tours or doing a land tour on foot or on our own, and walking on foot if not taking taxis around the city.

I usually like to see more than 1 country in one visit to Europe since airfare is SO expensive, I figure might as well get my money's worth! However, it seems there might be ALOT more in Italy worth visiting (besides Rome/Pisa) and enough to fit a 3 week itinerary that I shouldn't miss out on. Otherwise, if not, I was thinking a 3 week itinerary to include Italy / Spain / Portugal. I definitely don't want a jam-packed itinerary this time around and want a good balance of exploration / R&R seeing enough of a city, but yet being able to sit / enjoy / smell the roses if you get what I mean!

So I put that all out there to see if folks recommend just doing 3 weeks in Italy and saving Spain / Portugal for another trip or if an Italy / Spain / Portugal trip is possible given my need for a balanced vacation. For Italy / Spain / Portugal, I was thinking Florence/Milan/Venice + Barcelona/Madrid + Lisbon/???.

If you are recommending just doing the 3 weeks in Italy, what itinerary would you recommend to include Florence/Milan/Venice? What other cities/towns are definitely worth visiting in Italy? Even though we don't plan on laying out on the beach, we would still be interested in visiting any of the coastal regions since they still have more to offer than just the beach.

Thank you in advance!

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