In my opinion I would definitely drop Pisa. The reason for dropping Pisa is that each time we pass the leaning tower on the bus there are many hundreds of people crowded in the campo dei miracoli which is surrounded by tacky market stalls, some selling cheap artefacts from Africa(?)
Will you have a hire car or be relying on public transport (which would be best for most of these destinations anyway)?
We plan on using public transport if possible. One tour company had us paying for a hire car and a tour leader and still paying for an "official" guide for just four people. This seems a bit much even if Sienna and San Gimignano are hard to get to,
Well as you probably know, visiting Pisa, Florence and Cinque Terre by train from Lucca is easy. Visiting wineries, Siena and San Gimignano is much more difficult. You could hire a car and take yourselves to Siena and San Gimignano for a day, although one day rentals are very expensive - still probably less than hire car plus guide. However, wineries is another matter as the legal alcohol limit is so low in Italy, you can really only have one glass of wine and be safe to drive.
Have you looked into finding a private driver who will take you from Lucca to San G, Siena and a winery for the day?
Thanks. Do you know of any private drivers you would recommend?
Thanks for the website, Mesh
If you get the train to Pisa from Lucca, consider getting off at Pisa San Rossore station (one stop short of Pisa Centrale). It is a very short walk to the field of miracles, probably 300 metres rather than about 1.5km from the main train station through town. We walked back to to Pisa Centrale to see the town via a signposted tourist walk which was worth doing.
I thougt the same as you about the leaning tower but when I got there the whole field of miracles site was quite spectacular and in my view well worth it (even with the crowds)
I'm sure you will love Lucca
Respectfully disagree on "bagging Pisa". The duomo is a rare treat, the campo santo is fascinating and the museum is lovely - with some photo opportunities off the loggia that you cannot otherwise achieve. Also, walk through Piazza Calvalieri and go to Federico Salza for a memorable lunch...you'll think it only the most amazing pasticeria you've even seen, but proceed to the back for a grand dining experience.
We hired Tau Touring to drive us on an excursion to Volterra and San Gimignano. Driver only, but English-speaking and wonderful. Went to Volterra first - leaving Lucca early - and then over to San Gim. for lunch at Bel Sogiorno - another true treat - and thence "on the town" when things opened up after the mid-day break. You can self-guide in both towns and its a great , if longish, day's adventure. Don't miss the alabaster-carving studios in Volterra.