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Driving from Italy into Croatia...

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For reasons of luggage and traveling with cats, I thought it might be easiest to just drive from one destination to the other.

I will be living in Rome, but then will want to spend at least a month in Zagreb. I thought I could train from Rome to Venice or Triest and then pick up a car.

Now, I'm thinking it might be easier to just drive the entire way. I may decide to stop in Venice or Trieste for a night. But I'd really prefer to drive through. (Google says 9 hours.)

Can anyone comment, please, about whether or not you can rent a car in Italy and drop it in Zagreb? Any idea on cost? If I pick it up in Venice instead of Rome, will it cost more/less? (I'm afraid I'm no good at a manual and will have to get an automatic.)

Can anyone tell me if the Google time is approximately correct? (It will be August, most likely.)

Best car rental agencies for car going across borders? What stickers/documents will I need in order to do that?

Thanks for any/all input!

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