|Map highlighting the location of Tuscany in Italy|| |
| || |
| - Ranked||4th (7.6 %)|
|Population (2006 est.)|
9th (6.1 %)
Tuscany (Italian: Toscana) is one of the 20 Regions of Italy. The capital is Florence, and it has an area of 22,990 km² and about 3.6 million inhabitants. Known for its landscapes and its artistic legacy, Tuscany is considered by some to be the most beautiful region in Italy. Six Tuscan localities have been made 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-Romagna north, Liguria to the north-west, Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, Umbria and Marche to east, Lazio to the south-east. The territory is two thirds hilly and one fourth mountainous. The remainder is constituted by 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. The Tuscan area was inhabited by peoples of the so-called Apennine culture in the late second millennium BC (roughly 1350–1150 BC) who had trading relationships with the Minoan and 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.
Castiglioncello near Rosignano Marittimo, each little town owns an Etruscan Museum.
The Etruscans were the first major civilization 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 BC, reaching their peak during the seventh and sixth centuries BC, and finally ceded all power and territory to the Romans by the first century BC. 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.
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 aqueducts and sewers, and the construction of many buildings, both public and private.. The Roman civilization finally collapsed in the fifth century AD 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.
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). Other agricultural products include Chianina cattle (particularly the famous "Fiorentina" steak) and the production of olive oil, principally in Lucca and the surrounding hills. The industry comprises factories producing Piaggio cars, motorcycles, scooters and aeroplanes, the texile industrial district of Prato, the petrochemical plants of Leghorn and the steel factories of Piombino.
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). Marble is quarried in Versilia (Massa and Carrara), Garfagnana and in the Alpi Apuane.
Tuscany is a stronghold of the center-left coalition The Union, forming with Emilia-Romagna, Umbria and Marche the famous Italian political "Red Quadrilateral". At the April 2006 elections, Tuscany gave more than 61% of its votes to Romano Prodi. Demographics
In the '80s and '90s the region attracted an intense influx of immigrants, in particular from China and 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:
|Comune||Population (2006 est.)|
^ a b c d e Barker 2000, p. 5
^ a b c d e f g h i j Jones 2005, p. 2
^ a b Barker 2000, p. 1
^ Barker 2000, p. 4
^ a b Jones 2005, p. 3
Barker, Graeme & Tom Rasmussen (2000), The Etruscans, Malden, MA: Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-22038-0
Jones, Emma (2005), Adventure Guide Tuscany & Umbria, Edison, NJ: Hunter, ISBN 1-58843-399-4
|Find more information on Tuscany by searching Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Dictionary definitions from Wiktionary|
|Textbooks from Wikibooks|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
|Source texts from Wikisource|
|Images and media from Commons|
|News stories from Wikinews|
|Learning resources from Wikiversity|
Borghi di Toscana
PhotoGlobe - Tuscany offers geo-referenced photos
Tuscany Picture Gallery
Colorful Tuscan Photographs by Mathew Lodge
Paradoxplace Tuscany Photo Pages