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Looking for advice: One week side trip from a course: finishing in Rome

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Hello everyone! My girlfriend and I are Canadian university students traveling to the Netherlands for a course in European urban planning. As of the 31st of August, the course is finished: we were able to negotiate and get our return flight out of Rome on the 8th of September.

Our original plan was to fly on the 31st to Istanbul from Amsterdam; spend 3 days there, then fly Istanbul to Rome on the 4th and spend 3 days in Rome before returning on the 8th to Canada for work and classes.

Because of the aggression starting to flare up between Syria and Turkey, I'm looking for alternative ideas from all of you. I've been told by many people that we should try and focus on just one or two cities for that extra week - so I'm looking for a +1 to Rome, or more if they're feasible.

Neither of us are particularly experienced travellers; my partner has never been to Europe, while I've only been once briefly as part of a conference. I'm a classical history nerd, while she's mostly just interested in general sightseeing. If there are any urban planners in the crowd, we're both studying as planners, so places of interest would be awesome to hear about!

We're also VERY interested in coastal and southern European destinations. Places we're considering besides Turkey include: Split, Barcelona, Cinque Terre (and possibly Florence), or visiting a distant relative of mine off the coast of Greece (not sure the island, sorry!)

Our budget is limited, as we are students: but since it's only a few days and we've already paid for flights to Europe, local flights and accommodations are definitely manageable.

Advice anyone?

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