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Would appreciate suggestions about dividing up time between Rome and Verona

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I am almost ready to purchase tickets to Italy for the holiday season- leaving the U.S. on the 22nd of December and leaving Italy on the 4th of January. We are a group of five or six (ages from 12 to 50), and I have to pay for everything, so prices are very important. I have found reasonable plane tickets into Rome and out of Verona, and I need to book soon so as to get the lower prices.

Any suggestions as to how to break this time up? As mentioned, we are a large group, so we aren't "nimble" -- no hoppng around from town to town! I thought of renting a holiday apartment in Rome from December 23 until January 1 and then hotel rooms in Verona from the 1st to the 4th. That would give me one day in Verona and one day for a quick look at Venice. Would it even be possible to get from Rome to Verona on the 1st --will the trains go? Should we consider going a day or two earlier and celebrating New Years Eve in Verona instead of Rome? That way we could go see the Iceman at the Tyrol archeological museum and maybe snow (we live in Floida-- snow is a treat!).

Another option would be to stay in Rome for the entire vacation. Round trip plane tickets from Rome are pricier than the open jaw option (go figure), but adding the price of transportation to Verona reduces the difference.

Any suggestions are more than welcome. Oh, for what its worth, the younger girls (12 and 15 ) aren't overly fond of art museums, but do like historical things -- i.e. the forum and coloseum, etc. They are good sports though. I like everything :)

Thanks in advance!

Laura

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