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Italy 9 days Rome to Milan

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Hello All, looking for some advice (as most people are on forums :P ). My boyfriend and I are looking at going to Italy in early September. We have both already been to Florence, and although BEAUTIFUL will not be going back this trip, and we have both already been to Rome so we do not need to spend too much time there. We are in our late 20s and have travelled quite a bit and tend do go at a faster pace than most people. We aren't big into museums, but enjoy walking around cities to see the sites (walking 15 km in a day is not out of the ordinary), long lunches on patios and sidewalks, scenery, coastal views and strolling near water....and food :)

We arrive on a Saturday morning overnight from Canada and will be departing on the following Monday. Our flights are flexible so can be: into Rome out of Milan, into Milan out of Rome, into Milan out of Milan, into Rome out of Rome. We have both flown to Europe numerous times and are good at coping with jetlag so we still get to see some sights on our arrival day an the following day as well.

So onto the questions:

I absolutely want to go to Lucca and Cinque Terra. But the rest is up in the air.

1. Is Milan a must see? Or should we skip this and fly into and out of Rome?

2. Is Genoa a must see?

3. Any suggestions for must see towns or scenic areas for day trips or as driving through?

4. Any suggestions on other towns to stay overnight?

5. Should we rent a car or rely on trains/buses. If we rent a car we would pick it up on the way out of Milan or Rome and drop it off before entering Milan or Rome. Manual transmission is not a problem.

6. Should we travel from Rome to Milan or Milan to Rome?

7. How long to spend in Lucca? Any suggestions for inexpensive/hostel-like accomodation?

8. How long to spend in Cinque Terra? Any suggestions for inexpensive/hostel-like accomodation?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Grazi!

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