Margaret and Les,
I agree with Molly that one day in Rome is not enough,
especially if you are flying there from Toronto, because you
will be jet-lagged on the first day. Why not spend three
nights, which will give you two full days, then head to
Siena? We have used trains in Italy and generally found them
to be good, but we now rent a car for our trips. We have
even been fortunate enough to find parking in Florence. In
Venice, we stayed on the Lido (car ferry from the mainland)
but this would not be our first choice because we have
stayed in Venice proper and it's a very special place to be
during the evenings and nights. Driving in Italy is fine.
The highways are fast and it does give you the opportunity
to explore. Having said this, however, be prepared for some
"interesting" driving down the Amalfi Coast. It is
spectacular and extremely scenic, which translates to scary
at times. On this part of our trip, we combined the Trans
Vesuviano from Naples and local buses to explore the coast.
While on the Coast, you will not want to miss Capri. We took
a boat from Sorrento and spent the day on the island but
would want to stay overnight the next time. We also took the
ferry from Naples to Palermo, which stopped in a few ports
in the Aeolian Islands. It was a great trip. We spent a week
in Sicily and particularly liked Syracusa. As you are
travelling in May, book your Rome, Siena, Venice and
Florence hotels now. These are very busy places and
sometimes it seems as though all the world is visiting.
Have a great trip.