So, I am hoping to travel with my mom for a few weeks in Sept. I gave her a few choices of places I've been with my husband that I would be comfortable revisiting on my own, and she chose Florence and Venice (over Paris and Nice). Anyhoo, our plan would be to fly from London to Pisa (she will be visiting with my sister in Portsmouth for a month before I fly over), spending the night and the next morning in Pisa before heading to Florence for 4 nights (mid-Sept). I know Fiesole and will probably go there, but is there somewhere easily accessible by train, say within an hour train ride (no driving) that would be nice and easy for a half day? More interested in scenery (not interested in wine or foodie stuff). I've only spent 2 nights in Florence in 2012, so didn't get to see a whole lot. And mom has only ever visited with my sister. For the record, mom is in her late 60's, but she is still very active (more active then me, I'm afraid!) and loves to walk.
Siena is about an hour away, probably more convenient by bus but you can take the train and transfer to a local bus at the train station in Siena (check with the TI office at the station in case the location of the bus stop has changed). A little further is Arezzo.
You might also enjoy Lucca. You can rent bicycles and ride atop the wall that surrounds the centro storico. My husband and I did this last year and throroughly enjoyed it. Many nice spots for lunch. You could also choose to just take a stroll on the path around part of the city and just meander through the streets for the rest of your time there. We took a train from Florence and then took the bus back. Very easy day trip. Enjoy!
We enjoyed a day trip from Florence to Lucca by train. It is an easy walk from the station to the town. Lucca was lovely and the right size for easy walking. Rent bikes..we got a tandem..and ride around the walls, have a nice meal, check out Puccini sights. Actually, we threw in Pisa at the last minute when we returned to the Lucca station for our train back to Florence and saw the easy connections.
I haven't been to all those towns, but try to investigate possible market-days before choosing days of the week.
If you decide on Siena, definitely take the bus! The bus gets you there in about an hour and it's a pretty ride. Also the train drops you outside of the city and you will need a taxi to get to the town center, so why do it this way when the bus is so convenient.
If I remember correctly I took the train from Florence to Siena and while you do land out of the city center I took this crazy series of escalators that were inside a mall across from the train station. They took me all the way and I just walked the rest of the few blocks... took the same way back down to catch my train back to Florence... saved the taxi fare and rode the train, which I prefer over the bus.
It's a long day, but we took our daughter and grand daughter on a Walkabout Best of Tuscany tour (https://www.walkaboutflorence.com/tours/best-tuscany-tour) We usually don't like these big bus things, but this was worth it. It was even fun enough for our 5-year-old grand daughter to be good the whole time.
Our daughter said that someone she knew (at the NATO base in Sicily) had taken the tour and had Stefano as a guide and that he was great. As fate would have it, we got Stefano and he was great. He was a student working on an advanced degree in hospitality/tourism, and he may not still be doing this job. I'm sure that anyone who guides this excursion will be equally as good (although maybe not as cute). I can highly recommend it.