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Germany or Italy this October?

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Please help my husband and I! We are so overwhelmed and have almost gotten to the point where we aren't even that excited about a trip anymore to decide. Here's our situation:

This trip is for our 10th anniversary.
We can go for only 7-10 days (see below.)
We are in our 30s and have 2 young boys (who are staying at home!)
We are educated professionals, although my main job is at home now.
We have traveled quite a bit throughout the US, Caribbean and Mexico (all inclusives and others), but never been to Europe.
We've only cruised twice, both on Carnival, once in college and another 8 years later for a meeting, on the same ship! Not impressed, thought cruising wasn't for us, but don't know enough about Europe to know what we want to see or do.
We are from a smallish city in Virginia, and often tire of American cities quickly.
We are not pretentious and don't like a snooty attitude or stuffy atmospheres.
We enjoy being a part of a place we visit, really experiencing it.
We enjoy architecture, culture, history and food.
We drink socially, and enjoy wine, beer, etc., and while my husband is a night owl, we aren't into night/dance clubs or the like. More of a hang out, eat, drink, talk, laugh kind of people.
We aren't big shoppers, will avoid tourists shops like the plague, don't eat at Starbucks or McDonalds or other chains when home, why would we go there when traveling?! ;)

We originally considered doing a Mediterranean cruise on Seabourn or Azamara at the suggestion of our travel agent, but have decided against it because a.) you can't get a feel for a place if you are only there from 8-5 and b.) if someone annoys you on a ship of 200 (or even 500) people, it's hard to stay away from them! :D Plus cruises are generally a more relaxed atmosphere and if I'm going to Europe, I want to see it and do it! This isn't going to be a relaxing beach vacation.

We then narrowed the trip to Germany because it's always interested my husband (his ancestors are from there) and Italy because it's, well Italy. We found a suggestion about taking the Romantic Road in Germany and thought that would be a neat way of seeing the country. It's nice because of the short distance between cities/towns, and we'd be on our own. The places of interest in Italy (Rome, Florence, Umbria, Tuscany) are more spread out for more driving, which went against Italy.

When we talked with our travel agent about this and she tried to get us cruising again, then suggested a Rhine River cruise, and highly cautioned us against driving in Germany (and all of Europe). I don't want to do a group trip, wouldn't be opposed to a driver, if the cost was right, and am fine with a train or public transportation if it gets us where we want to go. (Part of me thinks that she wants to help coordinate it all so she gets a cut...)

Oh, and we are talking about doing this next month, likely leaving on the 15th!

So my question is what would you do?! Germany? Italy? Both? And then how would you do it?

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