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Driving from Florence to Rome

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The two of us are planning a 7-day trip from Florence to Rome, and have the following questions we would like to seek your advice on:

1) We are flying into Milan Malpensa and leaving from Rome airport. As we have been to Milan a couple of times before, we plan to take the train from Milan to Florence and then hiring a car there. Does this sound better than driving all the way?

2) I don't know the Tuscany/Umbria area at all, and am not sure about what route to take driving down to Rome - although my wife has insisted that we stop at the brand outlets at Montivarchi (Prada?) and Leccio (mall). As we only have 7 days, we intend to go via Tuscany and/or Umbria only without going "sideways" to Pisa, etc. Any suggestions for routing?

3) Friends have suggested towns including Siena, Chianti, Perugia, Assisi, Spoleto, before getting to Rome. What would be the driving times between these areas?

Thanks a lot for the help!

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