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First Trip to Italy

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Hello,

I am studying abroad in Oxford in late June-July, and was planning to take a 10 trip in Italy beforehand. I was thinking of ending the trip in Milan (or surrounding areas) and taking the train up to Paris and then on to London. I thought this would provide an opportunity to see the French countryside, but if it becomes too cost-restrictive I would consider flying.

I am an American in my mid 20s, traveling alone, and enjoy exploring cities/towns focusing on culture, nature, and food. This will be my first trip to Italy, and Europe as a whole.

Right now, I am having trouble deciding on several factors. I am on a pretty strict budget (less than $1500). In regards to lodging, the only expensive regions I have encountered is Amalfi, and to a lesser extent Florence. I found a pretty cheap spot on Lake Como.

1.) Is it worth going to the Amalfi Coast and Lake Como? Would you suggest both or just one given the short time of my trip? If just one, which?

2.) Do you think three destinations is too much for 10 days? Here are some proposed itineraries I am considering:

Amalfi- Rome or Florence - Lake Como (3 nights each)
Florence - Venice - Lake Como (3 nights each)
Or combinations of only 2 of any of the above.

Sorry for the long post and thank you to anyone who is able to provide advice! One more note- I am not overly concerned with hitting all the major cities and sites. I plan to return one day for a more thorough trip, and am now leaning towards a more laid back authentic Italian vacation.

Thanks,
Hugh

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