we are two college females about to start a summer abroad program near venice. we have one week after the course ends to go exploring before flying home. any suggestions regarding places to go (we are on a student budget!) and things to do? If possible we would like to split our time between a major city (or two) and the beach.
If you want to see some cities i suggest you venice and rome
Concerning beaches close to venice i suggest you jesolo a lot of young people if you move to rome may be there could be cheaper places Ostia ,Fregene. If you want the top of italian movida Rimini, Riccione or Milano Marittima.
I would suggest getting the train to Bologna from Venice - only an hour or two of a journey. Bologna is a university city so there is a very lively feel to it. It's a good spot to spend a day or two.
From here you could take a train to Rimini on the coast. As far as I know, this is one of the major Italian beach resorts. (I've never been, not much of a beach person, but friends of mine were there.)
Then you could catch another train back to Florence and spend a day or two here. This is a great city also. Train fares in Italy are quite cheap so these trips shouldnt set you back too much. And also, none of these trips take more than a couple of hours.
Hope that helps a bit,
Where are you flying from by the way?