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Italy: September 2014

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My boyfriend and I want to go to Italy this September. We plan to fly into Venice and out of Rome. We will probably have 9 days.

We are planning to spend about $5000-6000 total (including airfare which is around $1200-1300 per ticket right now). I am more of a "gotta see everything" sort of person, and he is a "relax and enjoy" person. We want a good mix. I have been to Italy, a short weekend trip to Rome with a "gotta see everything" approach. So, Rome is essentially our departure city (back to Minnesota, US), but we would like to see a few things so he gets a taste of it. He would like to see the Colosseum.

We plan to spend 2 days in Venice, but don't know what to do between Venice and Rome. We most care about seeing some "authentic" Italy, eating good food, and balancing relaxation and seeing the "must-see" stuff.

Maybe Tuscany? Florence could be nice. We like museums. I would like to see a coast, like Amalfi or Cinque Terre (or an non-touristy coastal town with just as much beauty), maybe a day trip or a one-night stay? My thoughts are all over the Italian map since I don't what to exclude any ideas until I get some first hand advice on this. After I get some recommendations, we will narrow down our hotel stays to probably 2-3 cities (including Venice and Rome), with day trips to get variety, then pick a logical route (via plane, train, or bus) from city-to-city.

As of right now, I am looking for the ideas of what and where. Next, we will plan the how.

I would appreciate advice on what to see, where to go, how much time to spend places, and must do activities! Any ideas on "must-see" touristy things as well as more "authentic/off the beaten path" places are greatly appreciated!

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