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Car hire in Italy - Oct 20-Nov2

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Hi all,

I plan to do Milan-Verona-Venice-Florence-Rome during 12 days with my wife and 10 yr old daughter. Was wondering if we should travel inter-city by train or hire a car for the entire duration of our stay. Both will cost more or less the same ~Euro 460 or so. The advantages of train are - faster, no parking issues, no searching for directions/losing our way/fighting with spouse over whose fault it is and probably safer. Car hire - make our own time, no lugging heavy luggage(and my wife does NOT travel light), enjoy the scenary and take pictures of the Italian countryside, take many side trips, see Italy more intimately.

Currently I'm leaning more towards the car hire option though I have never driven in Italy or in any country where they drive on the wrong side of the road, I mean RIGHT side of the road (I'm from India).

Can somebody give me some answers to the following:

How difficult is it to drive in Italy - I've been warned about Italian drivers but being used to Mumbai traffic, how difficult can it be??
My calculations do not include tolls, how much are the toll charges typically in Italy?
How about ferry charges? Google maps shows at least one ferry crossing.
How expensive is parking in Milan / Verona / Venice / Florence / Rome?
Do hotels usually provide parking?
How difficult is it to find aprking esp in Milan and Rome.
Can you hire GPS's along with the car in Italy?
Who should I use to hire a car?

Please tell me if I'm being a fool and should take the easier option of trainitelia.

Himesh

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