I'm attempting to plan 8-10 trip to Italy (en route to Scotland), for female friends early May 2014. Originally I was hoping to get to Positano, Pompeii, Rome, Tuscany & Venice, but as I've started researching I'm realizing that it would be rushed and a lot of time spent on traveling. Instead I'm thinking flying into Rome for 3-4 days - staying somewhere central, then heading to Tuscany for 4-5 days and 2 days in Venice. Could anyone offer any suggestions for possible 2- 3 night stay somewhere en route to Florence where you could possibly venture on day trips. Whilst in Florence I was planning on doing a cooking course (1/2 day) then spending 1 1/2 days exploring Florence before heading to Venice and flying out from there. I have been told the train system is great was was hoping to use this as our mode of transport rather than hiring a car, therefore the need for accommodation central to attractions and public transport. Any advice or other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.