May 16, 2009, 01:23 PM
May 21, 2009, 12:20 AM
As you probably already know, Tirrenia is really close to Livorno and Pisa so you can easily move on bus to those cities and then take the train to wherever else you might want to go.
It is hard to suggest "must do's" as they are totally dependant on your interests. If you both love good wine and good food, then I assure you it will hard to find bad selections anywhere you go in Tuscany. You could try going to the nearby Bolgheri wine region to try some great Tuscan wines that are lesser known abroad or go to the more classic wine region of Chianti.
I recently read about these guided visits to Chianti provided by the APT in Florence - I haven't tried them out, will have to do so in order to be able to tell you all more about them. The price seeems maybe too good to be true, but if you manage to find two places for the week you're here do let us know how it turns out.
Otherwise, some wineries with restaurant near Florence and Siena:
Fattoria di Montellori - in Fucecchio near Florence
Bosco della Spina in Murlo near Siena in the Crete Senesi
Osteria di Passignano at Badia di Passignano near San Casciano
You'll definitely need a car to get to these.
For restaurants, just try to go for those that look local and authentic to you - it is hard to go wrong with local Tuscan cuisine which emphasizes simple cooking but with quality ingredients. This makes their taste shine through. Avoid those that look really touristy to you - those that seem local and are full are likely so for a reason, so head towards those!
You can visit Lucca by train, San Gimignano is reachable by train through Empoli to Poggibonsi and then by bus from there. If this is your first time to Tuscany, then definitely Florence and Siena deserve to be seen. Pisa is pretty quick since most of the attractions are in the main square where the Leaning Tower is located.
Lucca and San Gimignano are both very pretty for different reasons. If you can make it to both, I am sure you'll like enjoy them but if you're short on time... maybe I'd cut out Lucca.
If you rent a car on any day, consider going to Volterra - its architecture goes back to Medieval times just like Siena and San Gimignano and it might not have all the towers that attract people to San Gimignano but it has a beautiful Medicean fortress (can't visit it inside as it is a prison nowadays), Palazzo dei Priori, ancient walls and overall a very beautiful historical center. I think it is often left out of many itineraries but worth a visit to discover its many treasures.
I hope this information turns out useful, if you have any more specific questions as you better plan your trip let us know and we'll try to help out!