I was thinking of driving from the Venice airport to the Dolomites and then from there down to the Cinque Terra. From there I would take the train to Rome. Any thoughts if this is a good or bad idea. I thought this would allow me more opportunity to stop and visit areas on the way.
Sounds like a reasonable plan. Will you stay in Venice before you get your car?
Buses are our first choice then trains ... trains stop at the bottom of most hill towns but buses go up usually ... sometimes trains are quicker ... cars need fuel & parking costs can be expensive in crowded cities .. like 20 euros a day .. parking tickets will show up on your credit card bill at home ... toll roads depending where you go ... traveling through diff country's you will need a permit or pay a fine etc. ... check FlixBus schedules or other buses ... power outlets, A.C. ... lake Garda is gr8 ... largest in Italy... went there for Bardolino's 5 day wine festival last year ... went to Bolzano (Bozen/Dolomites) saw the "Iceman" years ago ..so much to see ... so little time ... 3 weeks is our limit as 2 is to short ... Luca is gr8 too ... Venice buses are at piazza Roma ... or over the bridge for the train .. buses will take you closer as some towns have no train stations... Bolzano train is right in town .. as is Verona,Lake Garda (buses go around the lake which is 30 high and 10 miles wide within the mountains) we travel there either in May/June .... Sept./Oct. ... shoulder season not as crowded or sweltering .. we stayed on Murano Island (Venice) last year .. it's getting so crowded on Venice proper & expensive nowadays ... you can always get a 2...3 day vaporretto pass and do a moonlight thingy or visit all the islands... their talking about taxing visitors in Venice now ... can't see that when 20,000 cruise passengers come a shore... look cities up on YouTube for more info .. Sicily is more authentic then the mainland we believe ... we look up events/festivals then plan our trip around them anymore ... Easter is a gr8 time to see events.. enjoy !
We plan to stay in Venice but then rent a car, haven’t decide where to rent yet
That's quite a reasonable route.
You can get to Ortesei by train and bus easily from Venice, and over to the villages of the Cinque Terre is easy by train too.
But nothing wrong with driving as you suggest as long you understand all the things that can trip you up if you don't plan carefully when driving. If you scroll through these Forums or search the archives, or ask more questions, we can help you avoid the expensive mistakes.
Such things as ZTL, IDP, TUTOR, etc. Have plenty of cash for the tolls, and while parking in the Dolomites is easy depending on where you are, there are hazards in both Venice and the Cinque Terre areas.
If you REALLY like driving mountain roads, drive through Treviso (great little city to visit) up to Cortina d’Ampezzo and take the Grande Strada delle Dolomiti (Great Dolomites Road) to Bolzano. Remarkable scenery going through around and over the mountains! I drove it in early October last year and would do it again in a heartbeat. Leaving Bolzano, you could hug the shore of Lake Garda before heading to the CT.
What do you mean by “gr8”
gr8 = great
How much time are you allowing for this? and what are you wanting to see?
For an example, you could easily take the train from Venice to Balzano, spend a couple days, then train to the CT (where you will not need a car)
If you had 3-4 other destinations in the Dolomites and a week, then, yes, a car might be handy, but for a quick stop of a day or two, just stick to trains or buses. Even for the Dolomites, you could pick up a car in Verona, drive around for a couple days, returning to Verona before heading to the CT.
I think it's a rather torturous route. How much time do you have?
Driving in Italy is easy. Obey the laws, (as they are enforced in Italy rather than how they are enforced at home). Don't speed. Avoid the ZTLs, etc.
My experience suggests that you shouldn't bother with the car in CT. The car will likely just sit idle while you're paying for it. You'll take the train or ferry to visit the other towns. You'll walk within the towns. Parking will be a problem. We drove to Riomaggiore and did not use the car all week. Fortunately, our hotel provided free parking.
Drove from Venice to Dolomites two years ago-love the Dolomites (returning this Sept.). Easy drive.