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Italy with two teenagers

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Hello,
I would really appreciate an advise on planning our trip. This will be our first time in Italy (coming from US). After extensive deliberation we decided against guided tour and will go ahead with self planned trip. We are family of 4 (2 adults and 2 teens). I would appreciate advise/ comments on my plan:

- Fly into Venice and work our way to south of Italy eventually ending up in Rome to fly back: any suggestions on doing it other way around?

- spend approximately 14-15 days for the whole trip

- Visit: Venice, Bologna, Cinque terra, Florence, Amalfi coast, Palermo ( with few days on the beach) and end up in Rome

- We would prefer to travel by train, but it appears that tickets are super expansive and I am not sure what train company to go with: Italiarail or Eurail: any suggestions?
Also traveling by boat from Naples to Palermo looks like could be an option.

- We are very interested in biking tours, cooking experiences, local activities, seeing true Italian villages: any suggestions?

- Amalfi coast and Capri: where to stay for great beach and relaxing 2-3 days? Any resorts?

- What exhibit tours and excursions not to miss in the big cities like: Rome, Florence and Venice?

- And finally, I thinking about flying with US Airways or Delta, any comments? Or is there a better airline to fly from the Midwest of the US?

Thank you in advance for any comments, suggestions, etc!

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