I'm a first timer to Italy in September.
(1) Found a place to stay in Florence via TA, have 4nights reserved (Friday to Tuesday) and don't have to be in Rome until the following Thursday where my daughter will be joining us. So we have 2 nights without lodging and I'm wondering if there's any easily accessible stops worthy of an overnight stay via the train. I'd love to stay in a small Tuscan village or winery, which would also make a day trip from Florence unnecessary. Or even take a day trip and continue on from there as someone mentioned in a different thread. Or should we just add 2 nights in Florence and stick with day trips?
(2) for day trip ideas, we'd like to go to Pisa/Lucca (that Puccini concert series in Lucca sounds great!), possible Cinque Terra, and also hit Siena and winery/olive oil estates. So we could manage the extra days in Florence as above, but if we can avoid too much backtracking, it'd work.
(3) can someone explain the difference between the Firenze Card and the Amici card"
(4) train travel...is there an English language website that explains the various options (passes, classes, scheduling) since we will be going from Venice to Florence to Rome plus the various day trips from Florence.
Thanks in advance for any help!