Florence is the perfect base to explore Tuscany
Florence is a beautiful and historic city that you could easily spend a few days exploring and never run out of things to see and do, but it is also a wonderful city to use as a base to explore the surrounding area. Florence is nestled in the heart of Tuscany, and there are many beautiful towns to explore using Florence as a base.
Excellent transport connections
Using Florence as a base for exploring Tuscany is especially good if you are relying on public transport to get around the region. There are a lot of traffic and parking restrictions in the city of Florence, so if you are staying in the heart of the city for the majority of your stay, it is still easy to get out to other towns using buses and trains. If you do have a car, you might want to consider staying somewhere just outside the city centre like the town of Fiesole that is just a 15 minute bus ride to the city centre and the main transport station in Florence.
No need to drive to great Tuscan towns
If you are taking public transport out into the regions, you can easily visit places like Pisa and Lucca, the Chianti wine region, and beautiful towns like San Gimignano.
To visit Pisa, you can take the train directly from the central station in Florence (Santa Maria Novella) to the central station in Pisa. After exploring and taking the iconic photo with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you can get back on the train at the Pisa Centrale station and continue on to Lucca. It is easy to visit both of these towns in one day from Florence, and both offer a different perspective of the regions art and history.
If you want to go to the Chianti wine region, the famous wine road, the Chiantigiana, is a public bus route. You can take the SITA bus lines to famous wine towns like Panzano and Greve for a day of exploring Tuscan towns and drinking local wines. To get to both Panzano and Greve, take the "Firenze (Florence) to Gaiole" bus, via Greve and Radda from the central SITA bus station.
San Gimignano is another well-known, picturesque town perched in the hills of the Tuscan countryside. It is possible to reach this iconic town by bus as well, but you will need to transfer along the way. You can purchase tickets at the central SITA bus station in Florence with the destination of San Gimignano, but you will be transferring in Poggibonsi.
Excellent choice! Florence is right in the middle of Tuscany and it's linked to all the other cities in Tuscany.
Arezzo, Lucca and Pisa are the cities you can easily reach by train. You could reach Siena as well by train, but it's not so convenient since you'll have to change one train mid-way adding up to 1 hour to the trip.
If you'd like to visit Siena, I suggest you take the bus that brings you directly into the city center. There's also a train that goes to Livorno which is right on the seaside, if you considered having a visit on the coast.
Not only places in Tuscany are easily reachable from Florence: using only one train, the "Frecciarossa" ("red arrow"), you'll be in Rome in just one hour and a half, or with another frecciarossa you could reach Milan in the same journey time.