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Tuscany Panorama The name Tuscany derives from “Tuscia”, the name with whom the ancient Romans called the land taken up by the region since the III century before Christ. The Tuscany is one of the most extended and beautiful regions of Italy and it’s formed as a big triangle.

This region borders on the region Liguria north-westerly, on the region Emilia-Romagna northerly, on the regions Marche and Umbria eastward, on the region Lazio down south and it’s washed by the Tyrrhenian Sea westward.

The land of Tuscany is essentially hilly, without imposing mountains. The few plains were originally unhealthy and marshy and they have been reclaimed during the 20th century. The region includes the tyrrhenian slop of the Tosco-Emiliano Appennines, whose most northern part is the highest one and include mountains about 2000 metres high. Here are the passes which connect the Tuscany with the Emilia-Romagna: the passes named “Cisa”, “Porretta” and “Futa”. The Appennines includes also the Mount Falterona, from whom rises the Arno river, and the Mount Fumaiolo, from whom rises the Tiber river. Between the Appennines and the coast are some important mountains: the Alps Apuane, famous for their marble quarries, the Metalliferous Hills, the Hills of the Chianti area and the Mount Amiata, which in ancient times was a volcano. The valleys, with the exception of the Tiberina Valley and the Higher Valdarno, have a name which doesn’t derives from the ones of the rivers which pass through them: Lunigiana, Garfagnana, Mugello, Casentino, Val di Chiana. The majority of the tuscan land is hilly. The plains, among them we remember the Versilia and the Maremma, stretch along the coastal area and along the stream of the Arno.

The main river is the Arno (241 km long), which rises on the Mount falterona; the other rivers are the Magra, the Serchio, the Cecina and the Ombrone. These rivers with their affluents, form a thick hydrographical system, well-distributed along the land, but very irregular: the flow infact is conditional on the rains, so it’s abundant in springtime and autumn and scanty in summer.
The Tuscany is devoid of natural lakes, but at the same time it has numerous artificial lakes and basins for water consumption.

The coasts are essentially low and sandy; they are high and rocky near the headlands. The form of the coasts is also created by the waves, which move the sand shaping some longest marine dunes called 'tombolos'.
The region includes the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago: Elba (the biggest of the italian islands after Sicily and Sardinia), Capraia, Isola del Giglio, Pianosa, Montecristo, Gorgona and Giannutri.

The climate

The western part of the region is influenced by the presence of the sea: here the Tyrrhenian Sea mitigates the temperature and attenuates the ranges, so we have winters almost mild and rainy, with summers hot and dry, along the coast, while over the mountains of the inland the climate is almost continental and the difference in temperature between summer and winter is accentuated. The precipitations are abundant especially over the mountains.

The protected areas in the region are very numerous. In 1989 was founded the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago, which watchs over the territory, the coasts and the marine area of the seven islands of the Archipelago. The latest National Park is the one which watches over the Woods of the Casentino district, while in 1975 was founded the Regional Park of the Maremma, near Grosseto.

Communication ways

The communication road network of Tuscany is close and efficient. Florence is a very important railway and highway junction: infact, togheter with Bologna, Florence is the primary halfway station of the main road which connects Milan with Rome.
The port of Piombino is one of the most important of the Tyrrhenian Sea and it’s above all specialized in trade, because it’s well-equipped for the landing of the containers. Smaller and specialized in tourist transports is the port of Piombino.
The main airport in Tuscany is near Pisa and it’s used for both civil and military aims.

The population

The most populated areas are the ones near Florence and Pistoia and the Versilia, connected especially with industrial districts and tourist areas; scarcely populated are instead the Appennines and the Maremma. The Tuscany is one of the ilalian regions with a lower birth-rate.

The cities of Tuscany

Florence, placed along the Arno banks, is the main town of the region. Famous italian city of art, Florence welcomes every year millions of tourists desirous to visit its monuments and museums. It has a roman origin, but its old centre is rich in palaces and monuments of the Renaissance. Just during the 15th century, under the lordship of the Medici family, the city achieved its greatest artistic-cultural splendour.
Among the many remains of its past, we could remember the Duomo (13th-14th centuries), whose famous dome was built by the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, the Baptistery (11th century), Palazzo Vecchio and the Loggia dei Lanzi (14th century), the Uffizi Palace (16th century), seat of the Uffizi Gallery, which displays works of art of great value, the Church of Santa Croce (13th-14th centuries), with the tombs of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Galilei, Alfieri and Foscolo, the Medici, Strozzi and Pitti palaces. From 1865 to 1871 Florence was the capital of Italy. In 1966 the Arno river overflowed, causing considerable damages to the city and its monuments.
Florence is nowadays the centre of a vast industrialized area, with the presence of small and middle enterprises. The florentine hand-crafted tradition is ancient and prestigious; are particularly famous the embroideries and the straw manufacture. Near Florence is the town of Empoli, big agricultural market.
Among the most famous cities of Tuscany, we remember also Siena (old wonderful city, full of Hotels and Bed and Breakfast), Arezzo (with its monuments of the Renaissance), Pistoia (small but enchanting town in the middle of the Tuscany), Livorno (with its big port and the important nature areas), Grosseto (with its mild hills, destination of the rural tourism in farms holidays and rural homes), Massa and Carrara (famous for the marble quarries), Lucca (important for its wonderful ancient town-walls and for the Versilia, where you can find Hotels always open), Pisa (with the impressive Piazza dei Miracoli, famous all over the world).
Tuscany is divided into ten provinces: Arezzo, Florence (Firenze), Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa-Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato, Siena.

The economy, farming, breeding and fishery

The Tuscany is one of the most developed region of the central Italy. Its economy, at the beginning of the agricultural type, has gradually been transformed thanks to the development of the industry and tertiary sector, which nowadays employ the most of the active population of Tuscany.
The farming still keeps a relevant position in the regional economy, even if it’s going to a crisis, attributable especially to the inadequacy of the land structures. But in Tuscany are also some zones with a specialized and technologically advanced agriculture, like the areas cultivated with vineyards, which put grand-scale productions (Chianti) near valuable wines produced in limited quantity (Brunello di Montalcino). The other characteristic growings are: sunflower-growing, tobacco-growing, vegetable-growing, fruit-growing and flower-growing. Traditional is the olive tree-growing, which has its commercial centre in Lucca; the tuscan oil isn’t the result of a mass production, but it’s considered of valuable quality.

Are very diffused the sheep-breeding and goat-breeding, which nevertheless, on par with the fishery, aren’t so relevant activities inside the tuscan economy. More than in other italian regions, in Tuscany has an economic value the hunt, especially the boar-hunting.

The industry and tourism

The transformation industry numbers many firms, especially small and middle businesses, which act in the metallurgical, mechanical, alimentary, textile, chemical, shoe, clothing and building industries. The Valdarno is the most industrialized area. The Tuscany also boasts of a good production of electric power, obtained by means of geothermic stations which use the boraciferous fumaroles of Larderello.
The handicraft is very developed all over the Tuscany. Are above all renowned the straw, alabaster, old-style furniture, precious metal, ceramic and leather manufactures. From the subsoil are hoisted lignite, marble, pyrites, alabaster, rock-salt and iron. The Tuscany is, togheter with the Sardinia, the italian region richest in mining resources.
Ever-growing is the tertiary sector, which employs about the 60 per cent of the active population. In this sector, the tourism is particularly developed: the Tuscany is the third region in Italy for the arrivals from abroad. The cities of art attract millions of italian and foreign visitors. Very important is also the force of attraction exerted by the seaside resorts (the Versilia; the Island of Elba; the coasts near Livorno and Grosseto). More and more common in all the tuscan cities is the agrotourism.

Take advantage of marvelous Tuscany in all the period of the year. All the season are good to travel to Tuscany, and to admire the changing colours of its landscapes. After enjoying the wonderful green of the summer months, now Tuscany offers its autumn shades of colours, and this marvellous land become more beautiful than ever. It is not by chance that Tuscany has become one of the most sought destinations for holidays...
In Italy Hotels you will be able to find, among our wide selection, the best accommodation for your Tuscan Holidays. Hotels, bed and breakfast, Residences, Villas and apartments for rent are located in every part of this region in the center of Italy; Tuscany is between the most famous touristic area for the art, historic and itineraries tourism.

Art, literature and folk-holidays

In Tuscany were born some of the greatest italian artists: Giotto (1266-1337), Giovanni Cimabue (1272-1302), Piero della Francesca (1416-1492), Masaccio (1401-1428), Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519).
Leonardo, as well as an artist, was also a great inventor and scientist, like Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). Tuscan are also many famous poets and literary men: Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), Giosuè Carducci (1835-1907) and Carlo Lorenzini, known as Collodi (1826-1890), the author of Pinocchio. Were born in this region also the musicians and composers Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842), Luigi Boccherini (1740-1805) and Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924).

Among the folk-traditions, are prevalent the celebrations relative to the cycle of the year or to the patronal days, like the Palio of Siena and the Giostra del Saracino in Arezzo. Very famous is also the Carnival of Viareggio. The most characteristic tuscan mask-character is the florentine Stenterello. With regard to the gastronomy, we remember that the Tuscany produces renowned red wines, like the Chianti (exported all over the world) and the Brunello di Montalcino.

The land of Tuscany is above all hilly and mountainous. Many characteristics make the tuscan land one of the most enchanting of the world: above all, the wonderful mountains crowded with plants, the wonderfull hills covered with olive-trees or vineyards, the areas with still wild beaches which alternate with modern seaside resorts.
The Tuscany is also famous for its old and ancient cities, which keep their monuments and artistic treasures still intact.

The Tuscany is the birthplace of the Renaissance and the italian language (growing out of the tuscan dialect) and it has been the place of two big conquests, very important for the mankind: the equal rights for both men and women (happened during the period of the Etruscan civilization) and the abrogation of the death sentence (dating from November 30st 1786, thanks to Peter Leopold of Lorraine, the Grand Duke of Tuscany).

Tuscany ViewTuscany history. The region has been inhabited since the VIII century b.C. by the Etruscans (from whom the land has taken the ancient name of Etruria). This people has left some tracks of itself in some cities, like Vetulonia (Grosseto), Volterra (Pisa) and Populonia (Livorno). In 395 b.C., the Tuscany was conquered by the Romans and became one of the roman lands. When the Roman Empire fell down, the Tuscany suffered some barbaric invasions, which deeply penalized the economy of the region. During the XI century, the cities of Tuscany were proclaimed Free Commons and was born the maritime Republic of Pisa.

Since the end of the XIV century, the region has lived the period of its greatest splendour in economic and cultural fields. With Cosimo the Old started in Florence the Lordship of the Medici family, which gradually extended as far as all the tuscan land, creating the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The period of the medicean Lordship meant a real revival for the arts. During the XIX century, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany passed to the Austria. In 1860, after a popular plebiscite, the Tuscany was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy.

The first trails of life in Tuscany date back to the second millennium b.C., that is during the Bronze and the Iron Ages. Just from that period are some remains discovered along the tuscan coasts: villages, pile-dwellings, articles and tools which witness the existence of an already almost organized social life.

During all its history, the Tuscany has given political refuge to conquerors, writers and politicians, especially during the Napoleonic period and during the Risorgimento.
We must remember that Florence has been the Capital of Italy for 5 years, up to 1870, when Rome became the new capital of Italy.

Invaders, warriors or industrious traders, coming from the west or the far east, the Etruscans formed the first consistent basis of civilization in that area.

The Etruscans at first occupied the land near river Arno and the Tiber but later spread into an area, wider than the present Tuscany, extending to Umbria and a part of Lazio, reaching the north as far as Liguria.
The first contribution of Tuscany to European Civilization was marked by the extraordinary creativity and advanced sense of enterprise of the people. The exploitation of the fertile valleys and of the mines, together with the expansion of trade, strongly marked the life of this people, rich in creativity, devoutness and artistic fancy. Thanks to the Etruscans the whole area was able to reach a political organization and a civilized social development.
The Etruscans transformed the prehistoric scattered hamlets into the towns that are present in our time.

Chiusi, Volterra, Cortona, Arezzo,Fiesole are there thousand years old and, apart from Greece, no other country in Europe can boast sucha long history. The Etruscans did not create a real united nation; their system ( as the Greek one) saw a coexistence of self-governing towns that could sometime even fight one against the other. Still this people showed a strong sense of religious and national unity; in the VII th century a.C. the Etruscan leadership spread on a large part of central and northern Italy (almost reaching the Po Valley) even extending on central Corsica.

The main features of this civilization dissolved quickly. By the Vth century some signs of decadence were made visible by the weak resistance demonstrated against the assaults coming from the sea (by the Greek and the Carthaginians) and from land (by the Gauls and the Romans).
Then the Etruscans withdrew and later had to submit to Roman power.

Travel to Maremma

Part of the information regarding the history, the art, the traditions and the events about the city of Tuscany on this page is drawn from www.wikipedia.org respecting the GNU Free Documentation License.