hello! We will be flying into Milan June 14, and departing July 9. This is our first time back to Italy with kids (8 and 10). We prefer the smaller towns to big cities. We love the outdoors and also strolling and enjoying the architecture, food and culture. We are pretty flexible, but would like to spend about 5 days in the hill towns around Florence, about 5 days in the Amalfi coast, about 5 days in Sicily, a day in Venice, and and about five days in the mountains in Slovenia. With the extra days, we may spend some time on beaches in northern Croatia. We live in Colorado, so love to spend time on the water since we are land locked! :)
It seems it makes sense to get the rail pass for long distances and the Amalfi coast, and to rent a car for the time we are in the hill towns, in Sicily, and in Slovenia. Just trying to figure out what route makes sense, when we should take trains, when we should rent cars, and if we need to make reservations in advance for accommodations and for train seats? We are hoping to have some flexibility, so were hoping to only book our accommodations in Sicily in advance. We are on a budget, so are hoping to spend more money on activities, and less on where we sleep.
One idea is to save time by flying from Milan to Palermo. We arrive in Malpensa at 1:00 pm. There is a flight from the other airport at 6:30. I understand there is a shuttle from one to the other. Will this be enough time to make the flight? It arrives in Palermo at 8:30 pm, and we are hoping to stay in Scopella. From there, we could take a ferry (is that included in the eurorail pass?) to Naples, spend time in the Amalfi coast, train to the Florence area, train to Venice then to a border town of Slovenia, rent a car for Slovenia, then a train back to Milan the day before we depart. Does that make sense? Any other recommendations? Thank you so much for your advice!!