We knew we wanted to stay in one place and take daytrips (too much stuff to lug around, plus we thought it would be good for the kids to feel like they had a home). We also decided we didn't want to do a "countryside villa" vacation this time because we sorta already live in the country. We wanted to step outside our door and know we were in Italy. (Don't worry Italian Villa Vacation of My Dreams...I'm coming to get you sometime soon. Very soon.)
We didn't want to stay in a city that was too big (as much as we are both crazy about Rome, it freaked me out thinking about keeping tabs on three little people on those streets). We didn't want to stay in a town that was too small (we took a trip like that a few years ago and got bored with all the picture perfect small Italian "Disneyland" towns). So, we honed in on Lucca, which is in Northern Tuscany. Pisa has an International Airport about 20 minutes away. The town has something going on besides tourism. There is a lot of live music in the summer. The daytrip possibilities were good. Lots of families live there.