This summer My mom, friend and my 2 kids and I are going to Switzerland and Italy. We are only going to be there 2 weeks. We have been checking out train passes but are not sure if we want to do the train or rent a car. We will be staying most of the time with relatives in Switzerland. We plan to take day trips with in an hour or so from their house. Then go in to Italy to Venice stay 1 night and 1 night in Cinque Terre. We originally planned on getting a swiss pass for 8 days on the train in Switzerland then get a 3 day pass for Italy. I think renting a car would give us more flexibility around Switzerland and then get a train pass for Italy. So would it be best to just rent a car and travel through Switzerland and into Italy or get a car just for Switzerland or bag the car and use the train?
We always rent a car so can't comment on the train pass.
I would like to say though that 1 night in Venice and 1 in Cinque Terre doesn't sound practical. Venice definitely deserves more that one night and then you'll be traveling clear across Northern Italy for one night which means you'll basically have 1/2 day there. I would choose one and spend 2 nights.