Subject: Florence and surrounding towns

It's time to start thinking of next year's trip to Italy. One city we plan on visitng is Florence. It has been suggested that rather than staying in Florence (which is supposedly crowded and expensive) that we stay in a nearby town and take a train into Florence each day (about 1/2 hour each way).

Any thoughts on this? Has anybody done it? What towns would be good if one chose to visit Florence this way?