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Help please! Value lodging in Italy

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Dear Experienced Travelers,

Please help! We are a recently retired couple. Because we're hoping to spend an extended amount of time in Italy, Spain and France, we really need "value" lodging. I've spent the better part of today just researching Florence and Tuscany. I've searched Camp Sites for rental "apartments" and bungalows - We just can't do tent camping. I've also searched hostels in and around Florence. I've learned that some hostels have very nicely appointed rooms and a bathroom down the hall. I'm assuming those rooms come with a matching price but almost all of them have indicated "no availability" even for November of 2015.

We will have our own car but we prefer not to drive in the metros. We are open to sharing a bathroom as long as it's shared by a reasonable number of people. We are open to staying in simple accommodations as long as they are reasonably clean and safe. We would love to stay outside of the metros if we can catch public transportation into the city as long as it doesn't take more than 30 or 40 minutes.

In Italy, we hope to visit Florence, Venice, Rome, the hill country and Cinque Terra region. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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