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
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
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
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
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:
Tuscany links: 1