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O whole month in Italy and France!!!!

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My husband and I are celebrating 25 years together with a one month trip to Italy and France this coming April. I have never been to Europe but he has many, many years ago. We are well traveled and fairly adventurous. With that being said, we want to do our own thing, have some flexibility but have a general plan and reservations in place with the help from experience travelers to the area. We are thinking about flying into Rome, and working our way up , end in France and flying out of France. Some friends of ours have friends who rent villas on their Tuscany Farm in the Southern coastal region and we would like to spend a few nights with them. We will be flying in to Rome approximately 4 days before Holy Thursday and we think we will probably want to see the sights of Rome and get out of the city and into Tuscany before good Friday. We definitely want to see Florance, Venice, and Paris, but need suggestions for other not so obvious places. We also need help deciding how many nights of our month should be spend where. We want to utilize the rail system, but also intends to rent a car for certain areas such as Tuscany and Umbria. Any suggestions for a route and a plan of attack would be very appreciated!
Maribeth

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