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Best Way from Venice to Tuscany then Rome

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We will be in Italy in mid-September. Unfortunately, we have only six days: two days in Venice, 2 days Tuscany, 2 days Rome. From Venice, we will head down to Tuscany with Poggibonsi as our base, before proceeding to Rome. We will, of course, want a rental car to drive around Tuscany.

What would be the best way to do this in terms of time and $$$?

1. Train from Venice to Tuscany & pick up rental car? If so, which Tuscan town would be the best for picking up a rental car? (I picked up a rental in Florence in '07 and it took precious hours from my day! I had to go from the train station to airport...!)

2. Or rent the car in Venice (Piazzale Roma?) and drive to Tuscany -- if so, where would be the best place to RETURN the car? We'd then have to hop a train from there for Rome.

3. Or, drive all the way to Rome? If so, where in Rome is the best place to return a rental car?

I just priced rentals and they seem to be more expensive this year than in 2007! But then, so is the train, it seems. Thank you in advance for your help.

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