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Italy trip questions

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We are a family with two teens, planning a trip to Italy. We have two weeks. We would like to visit a few places with some surrounding areas--Venice and some towns between Venice and Milan, Florence, and Rome.

We are not doing Milan this time but will have to fly to Milan because it is much cheaper than flying to Venice. Since we would like to visit Verona and the Lake Garda area, we are thinking that we could simply take a train to Verona upon arrival in Milan and start it there. We are thinking about spending 3 nights in Verona or elsewhere in the area and 4 nights in Venice. Verona has long been on my list of things to do. I would also like to take the family to the opera there at night. We would like to spend a day on Lake Garda, take a tour of the lake. If possible, we would like to see Padua. If we like the lake area very much, we will spend more time there and leave Padua for another time. The first question is where to base ourselves for the first three nights? I know that Garda and Verona are quite close to each other, so we could visit both without having to change a hotel. Secondly, would you recommend a car? If we go to the opera in Verona, what is the best way to get back to our hotel, if it's outside Verona, late at night?

Next, we plan to go to Venice on the train and spend four nights there. After that, we plan to go to Florence and spend four nights there. DH and I have been to both places before, so we don't have to cover everything from the scratch. But there are still a lot of places we would like to revisit with the children and some new things we would like to discover. Specifically, we would like to see Bologna, Pisa (we could care less but children want to see the tower), Siena, maybe San Gimignano.

DH suggests to do Bologna as a day trip from either Venice or Florence. I suggest to stop there en route from Venice to Florence but we would have to leave suitcases at the train station and hubby is not willing to do that. How is best to do Bologna and how much time is good for it? If we get a car after Venice, it would make it easier to do Bologna on the way from Venice to Florence. Then the question is, if we stay in Florence, what to do with the car? We don't need it inside Florence and we plan to spend some time in Florence. At the same time, a car would make it easier to visit Siena and Pisa. We are considering the option of staying in a town outside Florence but then we would have to visit Florence for two days to sightsee, which is another inconvenience. On previous trips, we just used trains and did not go around much, so it was easier. Is it easy to visit Siena and Pisa on a train? There are bus tours form Florence to these places but we'd rather do it ourselves.

Our last three nights we plan to spend in Rome and fly back from there. Not much time but we have been there before, so we are not under pressure to see everything.

Thanks a lot for your help.

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