Summers are rough going to popular destinations like that. You should plan to go in the fall, after school starts. I've spent time in Europe in September and it can be absolutely beautiful. Plus, you can avoid the crowds that way. Also, you can consider the winter time — Rome isn't too cold (check http://weather.yahoo.com/climo/ITXX0067_f.html — the highs are near 60 all winter long) and you are close to some of the world's best skiing! Plus (and maybe most importantly), you will have a much better chance getting on the plane. Good luck!