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Heading to Italy for nearly a month, throw me some ideas!

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As the somewhat tech savvy and the discount travel guru around the home, I'll be planning out our trip to Italy. I (17), my mother, brother (15), and younger sister (11) are heading out on a trip to Rome from August 6th to Sept. 4th. Our flight is with AirBerlin with a stop in Germany from NY. We leave at night on the 6th and arrive at 12pm local time in Rome. We have already planned out a 4 night stay in Rome close to the Rome Termini station in a small B&B. On the 11th we leave Rome to Palermo via the train and once we get to Palermo, we will be staying till Sept 4th in a small quiet Sicilian town with our close relatives. During our time near Palermo, we would like to venture out and explore some of the Island and even some of Southern Italy. We aren't looking to spend big money but we can indulge here and there. We will be taking public transportation such as buses or trains, but have a car available on the weekends. Can anyone recommended some really nice beaches in Sicily? Any good places to visit as a family? Also is Palermo a "dangerous" city? Compared to like some US cities I guess. Also, as a 17 year old, what can I do by myself around Palermo or Sicily? What can I do nightlife wise in Sicily? Can I rent a moped or drive a car (I have a provisional license in the states)? I wanna have a good time and I am really interested in historical things like WWII sites etc. I can travel by myself on trains or buses with no problem.

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