Hey LJSVirginia:-) Turkish Air is considered one of the best European carriers.. but you do realize you'll have to fly all the way to Istanbul and backtrack from there?;-) Would check www.kayak.com/ for alternate options as well.. no reason to fly for practically 11 hours just to get to Istanbul when you can fly direct to Rome/Milan in about 9 or less;-) EnJOY!
Turkish are very good, if you have time you could stopover for a few days in Istanbul. We did this year and it only cost a little more.
The biggest problem you'll have if you stop over in Istanbul is how much you will regret you hadn't spent more time there.
For everyone saying only use Turkish Air if you actually want to see Istanbul, just note that Turkish Air often runs just ridiculously low fares from the US to Istanbul. From Chicago, we went once for $500, which is not much more than it costs me to fly to California. So it's not surprising to me that the cheapest way to get to Italy was through Turkish Air and Istanbul. Yes, it's out of the way, but it would not surprise me if the OP found a really cheap fare that way.
TA was great, also. From a quality standpoint definitely nicer than the big USA carriers or European carriers like Lufthansa, at least in economy.
To the OP, also, I have to say, I've been to Florence and to Istanbul and, honestly, I'd spend the week in Istanbul. Nothing against Florence. And I know Italy is a top destination. But Istanbul is very, very underrated.
@ Post #1.
Well if the prices are 200 bucks and cheaper it is worth it especially if you are paying for more than just yourself. Figure the first day you are there you won't do hardly anything for activities, so consider it kinda like 2 days gone. The day you fly and the next day.
@ Post 3.
Price talks, depends on how much you want to spend and how many days you want to be somewhere. Honestly it is probably cheaper to fly to Istanbul and stay a day or two and then fly to Italy from Istanbul.