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Northeastern Italy Itinerary Comments Please

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We are planning an itinerary for a visit to northeastern Italy in late Sept. - early Oct. Our preference is to stay for several nights at each location, rather than changing hotels too often, while at the same time taking day trips around to see a lot of the area's highlights. We also like to stay in city centers where we can stroll around and try different restaurants at night, but have easy highway access for day trips by car. Right now I am thinking that we will stay 4 nights in Venice, then get a rental car and head to Verona for 3 nights, then move on to Riva del Garda or somewhere else on northern Lake Garda for 3 nights. We would fly home from the Venice airport. We definitely want to see Padua , Vicenza, Verona and nearby historic villas; take a boat ride on Lake Garda; and take a day trip from Lake Garda to Balzano to see the Ice Man exhibit at the archaeology museum.
Any comments/suggestions about this itinerary?
Is Balzano a feasible day trip from Riva del Garda? What is driving time?
I have read good and bad about Riva del Garda -- is there any better option on Lake Garda that still allows a day trip to Balzano?
Any hotel suggestions in these locations?
Thanks in advance for any help!

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