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How far in advance to start booking April 2013 trip to Italy?

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My husband and I have started up our Italy trip discussions once again with plans for going in April 2013. We are thinking of going for 2 weeks, something along the lines of 3 nights in Venice, 2 nights in Florence, 4 nights in Tuscany/Umbria, 4-5 nights in Rome (maybe adding a day trip to Parma after Venice, which would probably mean an extra night in Florence since we wouldn't arrive until late in the day).

My question: how soon should we begin booking, both flights and accommodations?

In the cities, we will be looking for budget accommodations in good locations (hopefully, $120/night or less). In the countryside, I will be willing to spend more because we will probably spend more time there, but still budget compared to some of the options available.

Any idea on trends for when to book for best airfares from the US? We would hope to fly open jaw into Venice and out of Rome, but I live in a small town in the Rockies, so I could actually see doing a roundtrip out of Rome providing much better connections and therefore even with the train to Venice, making the overall trip shorter.

And is there a tough restaurant reservation where it makes sense to book 6 months out?

Thanks for your help!

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