Tuscany: Tourist Information





Modern Tuscany corresponds to the larger part of ancient Etruria, and most of our knowledge of Etruscan civilization is derived from findings there. The Romans conquered the region in the mid-4th cent. BC After the fall of Rome, it was a Lombard duchy (6th-8th cent. AD), with Lucca as its capital, and later a powerful march under the Franks (8th-12th cent.). Matilda (d.1115), the last Frankish ruler, bequeathed her lands to the papacy, an act which long caused strife between popes and emperors.

    In spite of the dual claims, most cities became (11th-12th cent.) free communes; some of them (Pisa, Lucca, Siena, and Florence) developed into strong republics. Commerce, industry, and the arts flourished. Guelph (pro-papal) and Ghibelline (pro-imperial) strife, however, was particularly violent in Tuscany, and there were strong rivalries both within and among cities. After a period of Pisan hegemony (12th-13th cent.), Florence gained control over most Tuscan cities in the 14th-15th cent.; Siena (1559) was the last city to fall under Florence's influence.

    Under the Medici , the ruling family of Florence, Tuscany became (1569) a grand duchy, and thus again a political entity; only the republic of Lucca and the duchy of Massa and Carrara remained independent. After the extinction of the Medici line, Tuscany passed (1737) to ex-duke Francis of Lorraine (later Holy Roman Emperor Francis I ), who was succeeded by Grand Duke Leopold I (1765-90; later Emperor Leopold II ) and then by Ferdinand III (1790-1801; 1814-24). The French Revolutionary armies invaded Tuscany in 1799, and it was briefly included in the kingdom of Etruria (1801-7) and was ruled under the duchy of Parma, before it was annexed to France by Napoleon I.

    In 1814, Tuscany again became a grand duchy, under the returning Ferdinand III and then under Leopold II (1824-59) and briefly under Ferdinand IV (1859-60). In 1848, Leopold was forced to grant a constitution, and in 1849 he had to leave Tuscany briefly when it was for a short time a republic. However, in 1852 he was able, with the help of Austria, to rescind the constitution. In 1860, Tuscany voted to unite with the kingdom of Sardinia.

Geographical Information

Ital. Toscana, region (1991 pop. 3,538,619), 8,876 sq mi (22,989 sq km), N central Italy, bordering on the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west and including the Tuscan Archipelago. Florence is the capital of the region, which is divided into the provinces of Arezzo, Florence, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa-Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, and Siena (named for their principal cities).     In the late Middle Ages and throughout the Renaissance, Tuscany was a center of the arts and of learning. The Tuscan spoken language became the literary language of Italy after Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, and Boccaccio used it. Notable schools of architecture, sculpture, and painting developed from the 11th cent. in many cities, particularly Florence, Pisa, Siena, and Arezzo. From the 16th cent., however, intellectual and artistic life was almost wholly concentrated in Florence. There are universities at Florence, Pisa, and Siena.


Map of Tuscany 

The wine roads of Tuscany


Travelling around the Tuscan roads, we often come across signs that mark that particular road as «strada del vino». Have you ever wondered what travelling along a «road of wine» really means? And where it comes from?

Currently in the Tuscany region there are fourteen roads of wine recognised  by the Regional Law of the 13th August 1996, n. 69. «Regulation of the wine roads in Tuscany». To follow one of these itineraries means choosing a trail characterised by the wine production of a particular type of vine and by being able to visit companies and cellars, open to the public, who produce them.

Going along a wine road, as established by the Regional Law, means following tracks «characterised by naturalistic, cultural and historical qualities». Wine roads are built, designed and managed by a promoting Committee of which the producing businesses, cellars, local Organisations, Chambers of Commerce, crafts and agriculture industries can be part, as well as the associations that operate within the sector of territorial valorisation of the road itself.

Also the Regional Law, to build a homogeneous and qualified wine offer, has prepared some guidelines and standards every road wine has to adhere to in order to be officially recognised.

Every wine tourism itinerary has its road sign system that indicates the wine it deals with, and the towns or places to stop of interest on it. And finally the creation of «Museums of the vine and wine» concerning and illustrating the relative wine and vine productions.

The fourteen Wine roads of the Tuscany Region are subdivided in the various provinces:

Maps: 1 , 2, 3

Tuscany links: 1 , 2

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 Last updated 1/10/2003