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4 weeks in Italy July with children

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Hi

We are planning a 4 week holiday to Italy next June/July with our children who will be aged 10 and 8 to escape our Winter.

We will fly from Australia to Rome and out of Paris 5 weeks later.

I would love some advice please, on both our itinerary and alternative options by people who are more familiar with the areas than I am.

I can speak Italian and DH and I have travelled extensively in Europe pre-children, but since having our kids we have stayed in Australia, Asia and the USA for holidays...the flight lengths to Europe have been off-putting until now.

Rome; 7 nights
Lucca; 7 nights
Ligurian Coast (SML we think at this stage, am open to suggestions though); 7 nights
Varenna (Como); 7 nights / Varenna 5 nights plus Milan or Turin 2 nights
Paris; 7 nights

We were originally planning to stay in the Val d'Orcia and hiring a car, but the more we thought about not having a car, the more relaxed we became. That is why we are considering Lucca as we can hang around there and enjoy the town or take day trips on a train.

Three other places we have seriously considered over Lucca are Bologna, Parma and Verona, I would love your opinions on this.

Also, would you stay in Como area for 7 nights or add a city for 2 nights.

Any further suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks so much.

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