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Tuscany

Regione Toscana
Toscana-Bandiera2.png
Capital Florence
President Claudio Martini
(DS-Union)
Provinces 10
Comuni 287
Area 22,990 km²
 - Ranked 4th (7.6 %)
Population (2006 est.)
 - Total

 - Ranked
 - Density


3,619,872
9th (6.1 %)
157/km²
Italy Regions Tuscany Map.png
Map highlighting the location of Tuscany in Italy
A flowered corn field in Tuscany.


Tuscany (Italian Toscana) is a region in central Italy, bordering on Latium to the south, Umbria and Marche to the east, Emilia-Romagna and Liguria to the north, and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west. It is often regarded as among the most beautiful parts of Italy.

Tuscany was the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and its artistic heritage includes architecture, painting and sculpture, collected in dozens of museums, the best-known of which is the Uffizi and the Bargello in Florence, but also in many other towns and cities in the region.

Tuscany was the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Dante Alighieri ("the father of the Italian language"). Tuscany is known for its wines (most famous of which are Chianti, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino) and has 120 protected regions (nature reserves).

Notable tourist destinations in Tuscany include Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Arezzo, Pisa, Lucca, Barga, the Maremma, the Crete Senesi, the Lunigiana and Garfagnana areas, and the island of Elba.

History

Also See: History of Tuscany

Apennine and Villanovan cultures.

The pre-Etruscan history of the area in the late Bronze and Iron ages parallels that of the early Greeks. The Tuscan area was inhabited by peoples of the so-called Apennine culture in the late second millennium BCE (roughly 13501150 BCE) who had trading relationships with the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations in the Aegean Sea. Following this the Villanovan culture (1100700 BCE) came about which saw Tuscany, and the rest of Etruria, taken over by chiefdoms (as was also the case at this time in France and the Aegean after the collapse of Mycenae and Troy). City states developed in the late Villanovan (again paralleling Greece and the Aegean) before "Orientalization" occurred and the Etruscan civilisation rose.

Etruscans

The Etruscans were the first major civilisation in this region of Italy; large enough to lay down a transport infrastructure, implement agriculture and mining, and produce vivid art. The people who formed the civilisation lived in the area (called Etruria) well into prehistory. The civilisation grew to fill the area between the rivers Arno and Tiber from the eighth century BCE, reaching their peak during the seventh and sixth centuries BCE, and finally ceded all power and territory to the Romans by the first century BCE. Throughout their existence, they lost territory to the surrounding civilisations of Greece, Carthage and Gaul. Despite being described as distinct in its manners and customs by contemporary Greeks, the cultures of Greece, and later Rome, influenced the civilisation to a great extent and this increasing lack of cultural distinction, including the adoption of the Etruscan upper class by the Romans, was one of the reasons for its eventual demise.

Romans

Soon after absorbing Etruria, Rome established the cities of Lucca, Pisa, Siena, and Florence, endowed the area with new technologies and development, and ensured peace. These developments included extensions of the existing transport infrastructure, introduction of aquaducts and sewers, and the construction of many buildings, both public and private. The Roman civilization finally collapsed in the fifth century CE and the region was left by the Goths, and others, without control. In the sixth century, the Longobards arrived and designated Lucca their capital.

The medieval period

With pilgrims travelling along the Via Francigena between Rome and France came wealth and development during the mediæval period. The food and shelter needed by these travellers fuelled the growth of new communities around churches and taverns. The conflict between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, factions supporting, respectively, the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire in central and northern Italy during the 12th and 13th centuries, split the Tuscan people.

These two factors gave rise to several powerful and rich communes in Tuscany: Arezzo, Florence, Lucca, Pisa, and Siena. The balance between these communes were ensured by the assets they held; Pisa, a port; Siena, banking; and Lucca, banking and silk. By the renaissance, however, Florence succeeded in becoming the cultural capital of Tuscany and ensured a bright, and peaceful, future for the region.

Economy

The region is noted for the production of wine, notably Chianti, one of the most famous wines in Italy. Also cattle (particularly the famous 'Fiorentina' steak) and the production of olive oil, principally in Lucca and the surrounding hills. Tourism is the economic backbone of the so-called 'Cities of Art' (Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano), as well as on the coast and in the isles (Elba). Also of economic note is the quarrying of marble in Versilia (Massa and Carrara), Garfagnana and in the Alpi Apuane.

Provinces of Tuscany

Rural Tuscany near San Gimignano.
Fields of Tuscany.

Landscapes

See also


External links

Photo galleries



Regions of Italy
AbruzzoAosta ValleyApuliaBasilicataCalabriaCampaniaEmilia-RomagnaFriuli-Venezia GiuliaLazioLiguriaLombardyMarcheMolisePiedmontSardiniaSicilyTrentino-South TyrolTuscanyUmbriaVeneto