Infobox Region of Italy
name = Tuscany
fullname = Regione Toscana
status = Region
province = 10
municipality = 287
arearank = 5th
area = 22,990
areapercent = 7.6
population_as_of = 2007 est.
populationrank = 9th
population = 3,677,048
populationpercent = 6.2
populationdensity = 160
Tuscany ( _it. Toscana) is a region in
Italy. It has an area of 22,990 km² and a population of about 3.6 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence.
Tuscany is known for its landscapes and its artistic legacy. Six Tuscan localities have been UNESCO protected sites: the historical center of
Florence(1982), the historical center of Siena(1995), the square of the Cathedral of Pisa(1987), the historical center of San Gimignano(1990), the historical center of Pienza(1996) and the Val d'Orcia(2004).
Tuscany is a region of Central
Italy, bordering Emilia-Romagnato the north, Liguriato the north-west, Tyrrhenian Seato the west, Umbriaand Marcheto the east, Lazioto the south-east. The territory is two thirds hilly and one fourth mountainous. The remainder is constituted of the plains that form the valley of the Arno River.
Tuscany is divided into ten provinces:
Apennine and Villanovan cultures.
The pre-Etruscan history of the area in the late Bronze and
Iron Ages parallels that of the early Greeks.Harvnb|Barker|2000|p=5] The Tuscan area was inhabited by peoples of the so-called Apennine culturein the late second millennium BC(roughly 1350–1150 BC) who had trading relationships with the Minoanand Mycenaean civilisations in the Aegean Sea. Following this the Villanovan culture(1100–700 BC) 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.
The Etruscans were the first major
civilizationin this region of Italy; large enough to lay down a transportinfrastructure, implement agricultureand mining, and produce vivid art.Harvnb|Jones|2005|p=2] The people who formed the civilization 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, reaching their peak during the seventh and sixth centuries BC, and finally ceded all power and territory to the Romans by the first century.Harvnb|Barker|2000|p=1] Throughout their existence, they lost territory to the surrounding civilisations of Magna Graecia, Carthageand Gaul. Despite being described as distinct in its manners and customs by contemporary Greeks,Harvnb|Barker|2000|p=4] the cultures of Greece, and later Rome, influenced the civilisation to a great extent. One of the reasons for its eventual demise was this increasing lack of cultural distinction, including the adoption of the Etruscan upper class by the 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 existing roads, introduction of aqueducts and sewers, and the construction of many buildings, both public and private. The Roman civilization in the West finally collapsed in the fifth century and the region was left by the Goths, and others. In the sixth century, the Longobardsarrived and designated Luccathe capital of their Duchy of Tuscia.
The medieval period
pilgrims travelling along the Via Francigenabetween Romeand Francecame 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 Papacyand the Holy Roman Empirein central and northern Italyduring 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.Harvnb|Jones|2005|p=3] By the renaissance, however, Florence succeeded in becoming the cultural capital of Tuscany.
Tuscany is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance movement, and its artistic heritage includes
architecture, paintingand sculpture, collected in dozens of museums in towns and cities across the region. Perhaps the best-known are the Uffizi, the Accademiaand the Bargelloin Florence. Tuscany was the birthplace of Dante Alighieri("the father of the Italian language"), Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangeloand Botticelli.
In the 1400s, the rulers of Florence, the Medicis, annexed surrounding lands to create modern-day Tuscany. The
War of Polish Successionin the 1730s, however, ended in the transfer of Tuscany from the Medicis to Francis, the Duke of Lorraine, who would become Holy Roman Emperor. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empireby Napoleon, Tuscany was inherited by the successor to the Holy Roman Empire, namely, the Austrian Empire. With the Italian Wars of Independence in the 1850s, Tuscany was transferred from Austria to the newly unified nation of Italy.
Tuscany is known for its
wines (most famous of which are Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano), and has 120 protected nature reserves. Other agricultural products include Chianinacattle (origin of the famous "Fiorentina" steak) and the production of olive oil, principally in Luccaand the surrounding hills. The industry comprises factories producing Piaggiocars, motorcycles, scooters and aeroplanes, the texile industrial district of Prato, the petrochemical plants of Leghornand the steel factories of Piombino.
Tourism is the economic backbone of the so-called "Cities of Art" (
Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, Cortona, Pienza), as well as on the coast and in the isles ( Elba). Marbleis quarried in the Alpi Apuane( Carrara, Versiliaand Massa), in Garfagnanaand in Lunigiana.
Tuscany is a stronghold of the center-left coalition The Union, forming with
Emilia-Romagna, Umbriaand Marchethe famous Italian political "Red Quadrilateral". At the April 2006 elections, Tuscany gave more than 61% of its votes to Romano Prodi.
In the '80s and '90s the region attracted an intense influx of immigrants, in particular from
Chinaand Northern Africa. There is also a significant community of British and Americans. As of 2006, the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 215,490 foreign-born immigrants live in Tuscany, equal to 5.9% of the total regional population.
Towns of Tuscany with a population of 50,000 or more:
Grand Duchy of Tuscany
History of Tuscany
Line of succession to the Tuscan throne
*Harvard reference|Surname1=Barker|Given1=Graeme|Surname2=Rasmussen|Given2=Tom|Year=2000|Title=The Etruscans|Place=Malden, MA|Publisher=Blackwell|ID=ISBN 0-631-22038-0|URL=http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0631220380&id=00WT_S6r9OkC
*Harvard reference|Surname=Jones|Given=Emma|Year=2005|Title=Adventure Guide Tuscany & Umbria|Place=Edison, NJ|Publisher=Hunter|ID=ISBN 1-58843-399-4|URL=http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN1588433994&id=8tKUyygkvjsC
* [http://www.regione.toscana.it/ Regione Toscana (Official page)] (in Italian)
* [http://www.toscanaechiantinews.com/EN/default.aspx Toscana & Chianti news - the official guide for the best hospitality in Tuscany.]
* [http://www.experienceplus.com/reading_room/travel_stories/tuscany_an_introduction_to_the_history_and_geogra.html History and Geography of Tuscany - essay by Rick Price]
* [http://www.borghiditoscana.net/eng/index.html Borghi di Toscana]
* [http://www.paradoxplace.com/Perspectives/Italian%20Images/Montages/AA%20Image%20Directory.htm Paradoxplace Tuscany Pages]
* [http://www.lodgephoto.com/galleries/italy-tuscany/ Photographs of Tuscany]
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