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Florence to Istanbul in 8 days--where to go?

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Hello all,

My husband and I need itinerary advice for a free week in Europe. We are finishing leading a study abroad group in Florence which ends on November 16, and we are flying home from Istanbul on November 24.

We will be visiting Athens, Crete, Istanbul, Ephesus and a few Greek islands on a footsteps of St. Paul cruise on our way to Florence, but these will all be short stops. I'm sure we'll want to return to some of these places, but what do you all recommend in the region besides these stops?

We are primarily interested classical and Christian historical sites and experiencing eastern Christianity and Islam. Oh, and we will have our two children (ages 3 and 1) with us ;)

So, what do you think?

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