Tuscany is a region situated in central Italy, and it has about 3.8 million inhabitants as of 2019. This region is famous for producing fine tasting wines such as Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, Morellino di Scansano, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Tuscany also has a strong cultural identity and a linguistic sense that it is sometimes considered a nation within a nation.
When it comes to tourism, Tuscany is the second most popular region in Italy, and seven Tuscan localities have also been designated as World Heritage Sites. In this article, we are going to know more about the history of this beautiful and enchanting region.
Tuscany During the Ancient Times
During 351 BC, Tuscany was considered to be the homeland of the Etruscans. After the Roman empire’s fall, this region, which became known as Tuscany, went under the rule of a succession of rulers. Eventually, Tuscany emerged as a political entity with its own rulers. That is why during the 12th century, cities in Tuscany slowly gained their independence as republics. During the Middle Ages, cities such as Pistoia, Arezzo, Lucca, Pisa, Siena, and Florence all became wealthy because they were involved in trade, textile manufacturing, banking, and agriculture. During that time, several wars occurred between the city-states in the hopes of conquering territory and power. However, Florence was the city that was able to overshadow and surmount all other towns in Tuscany.
Tuscany During the Renaissance Period and Reign of the Medici
After trying several ways to have an effective representative government, Florence was eventually ruled by an oligarchy of wealthy aristocrats; the Medici family became most dominant during the 15th century. With the support of these wealthy families, the literature and arts in the region flourished as nowhere else in Europe; that is why this period was called the Renaissance, which means the rebirth after the Middle Ages.
During this time, Florence became the city of famous writers such as Petrarch, Dante, and Macchiavelli. It also became the home of several famous engineers and artists like Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Alberti, and Leonardo Da Vinci. Because Florence became dominant in literature, the Florentine language eventually became the Italian region’s literary language. In fact, it is the language of Italy today. During this time, the area was ruled by Lorenzo de’ Medici, and he was perhaps the most generous patron of the arts in the history of the West.
Tuscany’s Decline and Renewal
Lorenzo de’ Medici’s death changed the region as the Medici family’s power seemed to fall apart, which is why during this time, Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola found a way to become the ruler Florence. However, when Savonarola turned against the pope, he was debarred, tortured, and burned at the Piazza Della Signoria in 1498.
When the commerce shifted away from the Mediterranean and moved toward the Atlantic after 1492, the economy of Tuscany entered a slow decline. When Holy Roman Emperor Charles V occupied Florence, he decided to re-established the Medici family’s power. They became known as the dukes of Florence, and after a few decades, Cosimo de’ Medici was hailed as the Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Cosimo aggressively pushed a policy that will promote economic revival. Included in his plans was constructing the excellent harbor at Livorno because Pisa’s port had silted up. He also sponsored Galileo Galilei’s work, the voyages of Amerigo Vespucci, and founded several universities. However, the family’s successors began the decline of the Medici, and in 1737, the last male member of the family died without an heir.
Fortuitously for the future of Florence, Anna Maria Luisa, the sister of the last male member of the Medici family, bestowed the entire Medici land and art treasures to the city so that Florentines and everyone around the world could forever adore it.
Tuscany in the Modern Times
After the rule of the Medici family, Tuscany was governed by the Austrian Dukes of Lorraine. During the 17th century, Florence and Tuscany seemed to increasingly fall to relative insignificance, which was not revived until the 19th century. During this time, the Dukes of Lorraine started to modernize Tuscany’s local administration, made some agricultural improvements, and reorganized religious houses. However, in 1861, the march to Italian independence resulted in the end of the Lorraine rule when Tuscany agreed to be annexed and united with Italy.
Today, Tuscany is considered to be an important cultural center in Italy. The region is the home of several galleries, museums, and churches, all full of outstanding and historical paintings, sculptures, and glorious monuments built by the greatest masters and artists in the world. Every year, the charm and culture of Tuscany attract millions of tourists, making it one of the most beautiful and romantic destinations in the world.
Fascinating Facts About History of Tuscany, Italy
Pinocchio is from Tuscany
In 1883, A Florentine-born man, Carlo Collodi wrote the book The Adventures of Pinocchio. It was long before the story became a hit Disney movie. A local puppeteer decided to bring the character to life. Hence, a wooden puppet version of Pinocchio was created. It is believed by the legends that that puppet finally became a real boy.
The Leaning Tower Of Pisa Was A Mistake
The leaning tower of Pisa, named after the poor decision to build this 15,000-ton structure in an unpredictable swamp, surprisingly still stands today but still, it leans. However, in the municipality, several other towers are attached and lean on a much smaller scale. Most of them are church steeples.
Tuscany Is Known As A Nation Within A Nation
The amazing history of Tuscany shows how the Italian language was derived from the Tuscan dialect dating back to the renaissance period. This is the main reason that Tuscany is so rich in culture. It can be seen in every corner of the region.
Tuscany Set A Trend In Flooring In Europe
In 1339, Tuscany decided to pave the roads. It was a revolutionary movement that was taken across Europe. This pavement or flooring revolution was to make cities more accessible. Also, it was to bring a new and exciting level of prestige to Europe.
Tuscany Has More UNESCO World Heritage Sites Than South Africa And Australia
A source of inspiration for many Renaissance painters, Tuscan is full of breathtaking sites. It is up to you whether you decide to visit the center of Florence Piazza del Duomo or the green hills of Val d’Orcia during your vacation in Italy. When you look for places to visit, you will be amazed at how incredible scenery or landscapes are. Tuscany has 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites as follows:
- The City Of Florence
- Piazza Dei Miracoli In Pisa
- Medieval Towers Of San Gimignano
- Siena Historical Center
- Historic Center of Pienza
- The Landscape of Val d’Orcia
- 12 Medici Villas
Precious Artwork Comes From Tuscany
Some of the most valuable works of art ever created come from Tuscany. The best works by artists you can expect to find in Tuscany include The Birth of Venus by Botticelli and David by Michelangelo. Also, do not forget the powerful architectural masterpieces in the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Florence, that add to the cultural significance.
Tuscany Is Well Known For Its Excellent Wines
What is a Chianti? One of the best wine regions in Tuscany is Chianti. It is incredibly popular with British tourists. Also, it has been given a British name, Chiantishire.
Tuscan Bread Was Traditionally Made Without Salt
The story is quite childish. In 1947, when Pisa and Florence were at war, the Pisans thought that if they blocked the shipment of salt from Florence, they would have to surrender. Instead, the Florentines adapted to a standard of life where they baked bread without salt. While in Tuscany, try Focaccia: The Italian Bread
Tuscan Cuisine Is Often Considered The Best In All Of Italy
Nutrient-rich soil means that it thrives and develops with insane flavors that show up in the dishes. The olive groves, cured hams, and cheeses are just some of the famous Tuscan dishes. When you are on a vacation in Italy, try some of the best Tuscan cuisines.
Sought-After Destinations in Italy
There are several reasons why Tuscany is one of the most sought-after destinations in Italy. Whether you plan to go to Tuscany for the food, lush hillside views, wine, or Tuscan history, one of the options might be the biggest draw. Combinations, on the other hand, make a perfect getaway in Tuscany, Italy.
History Of Tuscany, Italy – Second Most Popular Region In Italy
What is the best time of year to visit Tuscany? The popular tourist destination of Tuscany has an abundance of history, legacies, and landscapes. All these factors make up the identity of Tuscany and draw people to visit Italy. Tuscany, also known as Toscana, the region contains some of the most sought-after locations for holidays such as Pisa and Florence.
Apart from Tuscan wines, bread, cuisines, and culture, there are plenty of other amazing historical facts about Tuscany, Italy. It is one of the most popular regions in Italy for a few reasons. The leaning tower of Pisa is in Tuscan and more UNESCO World Heritage sites make Tuscany a region full of sought-after destinations.