A few prefatory comments. I am not trying to be a provocateur. I readily concede that many who visit this forum have a knowledge of Europe that is superior to mine. And so many of you have been extraordinarily helpful to me in recent months by addressing questions I have posted or answering messages I have sent--and I remain extremely grateful for your help.
However, I cannot fail to notice the view of many veteran travelers to the less inexperienced to slow down, to visit fewer cities and countries, to reduce long-distance travel inside Europe.
Again, all would concede that some balance considering time and travel wishes needs to be struck. But it seems to me that an argument for an ambitious itinerary can be made. First, unless someone goes to different places, he is not sure what he will really like. The spend-more-time approach seemingly suits more the veteran and frequent traveler who has visited many of the top sites and who for that reason has a better feel for what he will like and who has the luxury of spending much time in a small region.
Second--and more important and a response to those who say "wait until the next trip"--there may not be another trip: Hence, the need to visit more places and places separated by some distance.
Again, all would acknowledge the need for some balance: London, Paris and Rome in six days is absurd. But I did want to offer just a somewhat different perspective with regard to an itinerary for the first-time traveler.