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Venice + Rome with family (teen sons) over Christmas/New Years - HELP!!

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I am just beginning to put together a trip over Christmas and New Years to Italy. Traveling with husband and two teen sons, 16 and 18.

Need help on accomodations and general advice!

Flying into Milan (aa miles) a few days before 12/25 and taking train directly to Venice. Want to spend three or so days here, then take train to Rome for a week or so, daytripping out to various sites.

I am interested in cheaper housing, and have stayed at CONVENTS in Rome and really liked them. Does anyone have any links to that? I stayed at one near Vatican City but can't recall the name. Would be interested in flats, as well. have found a few I have contacted through other posts. Also ideas for accomodations in Venice.

Any advise on trains from Milan to Venice? how reliable are they, seem to recall some iffy incidents in my past with Italian trains!! First class, I DO know!!

I am enjoying others posts and gathering alot from them, just thought I'd put this fresh out there to see what ideas anyone might have. Plan to stay the majority of the time south around Rome. Hopeful on weather, but I recall being there in November and having alot of rain. Don't know how crowds would compare to summer? (Have a thought of going to Spain, instead, but Rome is higher on my list!!)

Many thanks!!

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