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Family needs help with Italian Iternary

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Hi,
Six of us (parents and 4 children aged 15, 13, 7 and 4) will be flying from JFK to Milan on March 31 2015 and returning on April 12th.

Need some advice from the Fodors gurus about the following questions:

1. How should we divide our time between the top destinations in Italy? (Because of our younger kids, we won't be interested in any nightlife, fashion, Operas etc)
2. What's the best way to travel within Italy? (rent a car, train, combination)
3. If train, then should we buy a pass or pay as we go?
4. Any good places to search for vacation rentals or apartments? We avoid hotels.
5. What's the best way to navigate inside the city? Cab? Bus?

Thanks much!

Jonah G

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