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Renting a car when departing Venice - rent in Venice or nearby town?

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We are spending 10 days in Italy in late September/early October ("we" are two couples). Most arrangements have been made, but a rental car question still looms. After spending two nights in Venice, we want to have a rental car for a day-and-a-half to see some areas of the Lake District.

If we pick up the car in Venice, is it a potentially awful drive to get out of the Venice area and on our way to Verona, for example? If traffic can be extremely bad, would it be better to take a train to a nearby town and pick the car up there, and be on our way?

Thank you in advance for your insights and suggestions!

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