Have you already purchased your air tickets? It would be easier for you to fly in or out of Milan on one leg of your trip.
If you have short time in Bologna, that can be spent in the city. There are several places near by, like Modena,,Parma and Ferrara, that are well worth the time to visit.
You could also stop in Verona for the day between Venice and Como. This would omit a 1 night hotel stay and add it somewhere else. It is difficult to keep moving around. Also, luggage is a factor. Do you just put it in the car or carry it off and on the trains?
It might help you to determine what you want to do in each location. That could determine if you need a car or use the rails.
As the majority of these cities close their centers to auto traffic (unless you have a permit), I think that you'd find life much less complicated if you took the train.
I am worried that you are hoping to find acommodation at this short notice !
Anyway no need for car hire, they are simply a liability in this integrated transport country.
I would definitely rent a car and while in Verona take a side trip to Asolo and Asiago. If you do drive from Verona to Como you might stop for lunch in Sirmione at the foot of Lake Garda. I can't remember the name of the restaurant but you will know it when you see it sittinover the water. I have never stayed on Garda, but Lake Como is FINE. Bellagio, especially.
I would use public transport if at all possible as Italy has a super bus and rail service that is intergrated and very frequent and also, extremly reasonable.
Venice is superb and well worth a visit, as is Verona, but I would also suggest Vicenza which is very interesting. I also think Bologna is superb, but would warn against trying to see too much as you could spend most of your time on the train or bus and end up seeing everything yet nothing. Italy is a fascinating country with so much to see that it would be a shame to rush it.
Remember that its high season and all the tourist spots will be more expensive, so if you do choose Lake Como choose somewhere less full of tourists as it will be more natural and much less expensive. I know everyone will suggest Bellagio because it is beatiful and located well, but it is also very busy and expensive and can be see in a day. Try somewhere like Gravedona and hotel La Villa further north on the lake and travel to all those tourist places by boat or hydrofoil. Very romantic and enjoyable.
Whatever you do, have a great time.
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