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Italy First-timers: Tour or self-guided?

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My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy with our 9-year-old son in July, 2012, and we are divided on whether to book through a website that features pre-scripted destinations/tours, or to book the trip on our own. One of us likes the security of a tour with bus and/or train travel, without the stress of driving. The other doesn't mind a little driving, combined with train travel so we have the flexibility of our own hotel, food and excursion choices. Since this is our first trip to Italy, we want to do it right, and see as much as possible in about 10 days. We want this trip to be fun and safe for everyone in the family, and I would love to hear the pros and cons for both travel methods. Based on what we have been reading thus far, we would like to start in Venice, see Tuscany, and end in Rome. I would also like some feedback on how long to stay in each location.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

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