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Help- 1st time family planning self tour of Italy

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We are a family of 4 (2 kids ages 11 and 14)and are desperately saving up in order to plan a tour of Italy in 2014 (having only ever experienced the bog standard all inclusive beach holidays which we are totally bored with now the kids are older). My husband and I love Italy (been to Milan/ Venice/Sicily/Naples as a couple and want the kids to have a cultural holiday instead of looking at a hotel pool and the same stretch of beach for 2 weeks)
Our plan is (and feel free to make alternative suggestions as we are COMPLETE novices).....
Fly to Rome, have 2 nights there (3 days),
then Florence for 2 nights (3 days),
Cinque Terre for a further 2 nights (3 days),
then onto Sirmione for 2 nights (3 days),
finally finishing at Venice for 1 night (2 days)before we fly home.
I'm currently pricing it all up to try and get an idea of costs, but cant seem to get on with the train website as it seems there are hundreds of destinations in Rome for example in which to go from and as I ve not researched what attractions we are going to actually plan at each destination yet, its proving difficult- also, when I just chose a random station to get a feel of the price, it said that the prices hadnt yet been released (for July 2013)
My questions are (and this will be the first of many as I have Will this trip be do-able by train and is it relatively easy with the kids- we've chosen the lake and the beachy bit so that we get some relaxing time and not spending too long in Venice as myself and my husband have been there before.
Please please please give my any suggestions/ advice and any "must do" attractions/ activities that you can suggest - all will be greatly appreciated.......
(btw, I currently have the Rick Steve? book on order).
Thanking you all in advance

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