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Sabbatical question: 5 weeks in Italy with 2 and 6 y/o family

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Hello- I'm lucky enough to have a several week sabbatical between July 20-September 4th of 2015. Italy and Iceland are the top of our list.

We love nature, wilderness, wildlife, horses, history and are conservation professionals (writer/editor and non-profit leader), our kids are adventurous and have backpacked and slept in tents every year. I've had a hard time thinking through how to spend this life-gift. Where?, try to settle in one place or move around?

Where in Italy could we settle in for 5 weeks and live frugally without a car (train, walk, bike, transit). We'd love to be close to water (a shoreline entertains the kids for days) and close to take short jaunts to archeological sites? We'd likely be crossing our fingers for a home exchange or a long-term rental.

I think we have time to go a little deeper to know a place, but with kids, not necessarily farther in terms of hiking or backpacking mileage, or long road trips.

Thanks.

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