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Itinerary help please- 5 weeks- Northern Italy, Liguria, Tuscany?-

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Background:

Travelled to Italy 6 times previously and stayed- Puglia, Rome, Florence, Venice, Sicily, Sardinia, Cinque Terre, Urbino, Spello, Pisa

Speak a little Italian

Middle aged couple, independent travellers who prefer budget value apartment stays or small B&Bs/hotels

We are not interested in car travel, prefer local bus and train travel

Prefer to select a base to stay for a week at a time if possible- enjoy small village life- but also open to larger towns for transport hub

Already booked: Flying into Rome from Australia, spend 2 nights before heading off ( we have spent quite a lot of time in Rome before)- have also booked our last night in Rome before flying back to Australia.

Arrive Rome May 14- depart June 17

I enjoy planning the trip almost as much as actual journey, but I would love some itinerary input and then I can hopefully flesh out the rest.

Goal:

A "round": trip of sorts- with the goal of travelling from Rome to visit Northern Italy, the Lakes area and then returning to Rome via Ligurian coast.

eg Rome- Arezzo- Verona-Lake Como ( Varenna) - Genoa- Rome

Considering visiting Vicenza, Verona, Padova, Modena, Parma, Varenna, Milan?, Santa Margherita Ligura- but open to all suggestions really!

My pleasant dilemma is if we want to choose 3 or maybe 4 bases ( preferably apartment living) from which to explore, which would be the best towns to do this from?

Thanks in advance for any advice :)

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