Tuscany – one of the most attractive tourist regions, both in terms of the number and lasting value of cultural and artistic attractions, and thanks to a wide selection of magnificent resort places. Tuscany is located in the center of Italy and is bordered in the north-west by Liguria, in the north by the Emilia-Romagna region, in the east by Marche and Umbria, in the south by Lazio, and 397 km of the west coast are washed by the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian seas. 3 million 746 thousand people live in Tuscany, the capital of the region is Florence.
The territory of the region is 66.5% covered with hills, about 8.4% are valleys, 25.1% of Tuscany belong to mountain ranges, such as the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and the Tuscan-Roman Apennines. The seaside part of Tuscany is characterized by gentle sandy shores. The Tuscan archipelago includes several islands, located around the main island of the archipelago – Elba. The archipelago includes the islands of Gorgon and Capraia (of volcanic origin) – in the Ligurian Sea, Pyanosa, Montecristo, Giglio and Giannutri – in Tyrrhenian.
The highest mountains are Monte Prado (2054 m), Monte Jovo (1991 m), Monte Pisanino (1946 m), Alpe Tre Potence (1940 m). Monte Amiata (1738 m) is an extinct volcano.
Mount Monte Amiata. A photo
The main rivers are: Arno (241 km), Ombrone (161 km), Serkio (111 km), Cecina (73 km), Magra (70 km), Sieve (62 km).
Main lakes: Bilancino (artificial, 5
The average annual temperature on the coast is maximum 16 ° C on the coast, gradually decreasing towards the center and north of Tuscany. In the lowland zones (valdarno and Val di Chiana valleys), the highest summer temperatures are observed, which sometimes reach 40 ° C and contrast sharply with the minimum winter temperatures, which sometimes drop to minus. Snow falls in the mountains and sometimes in the hilly areas adjacent to them, but it is extremely rare – in flat places and almost never – on the sea coast.
The capital of the region is Florence with a population of 373.5 thousand inhabitants, the main cities of the Tuscan provinces: Arezzo, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato, Siena.
The first mention of the presence of man in these lands dates back to the II millennium before
Volterra. A photo
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the region fell under the rule of the Ostrogoths and Byzantines, and then the Lombards (569), who founded the duchy with the capital in Lucca. From the 11th century, fortress cities began to be actively built throughout the region, during this same period Pisa became the strongest and most influential city in the region and extended the power of the maritime republic to almost the entire territory of Tuscany.
From the XII century begins the period of free communes, and Pistoia becomes the first commune of Italy. The first forms of democracy are developing, which brought Tuscany cultural, social and economic independence. In the same period, the formation of independent Florentine and Siena republics, constantly hostile to each other. Gradually, by the 16th century, Florence took over all the Tuscan territories, including Siena. The Grand Duchy of Tuscany existed until the middle of the XIX century. In 1860, Tuscany joined the Sardinian kingdom, which later became the Italian kingdom, and then the Italian Republic.
Italy is the country with the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, and Tuscany is one of the regions (together with Campania, Lombardy and Piedmont), the richest in sites protected by UNESCO. These are the historical centers of Florence, San Gimignano, Siena, Pienza, Duomo Square in Pisa, Val d’Orcia valley.
Tuscany is famous for its cultural heritage, a huge number of monuments of history and works of art are concentrated in this region. The cities of Florence, Pisa, Siena and Lucca are famous all over the world, rich in cultural monuments of Arezzo, Carrara, Pistoia and Prato, perhaps less well known among tourists, but at the same time rich in cultural attractions of Livorno, Grosseto and Massa.
Painting by the Tuscan painter Giovanni Fattori “Oxen in harness” (1867-1870, gallery of modern art in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence). G photo
And besides, in Tuscany there are a huge number of small towns, many of which are medieval fortresses that have been preserved for centuries and contain invaluable works of art. These are Cortona, Lucignano, Sansepolcro, Castiglion Fiorentino, Poppi (in the province of Arezzo); San Gimignano, Pienza, Colle di Val d’Elsa, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Chiusi, Monteriggioni (in the province of Siena); Fiesole and Certaldo (in the province of Florence); Massa Marittima, Orbetello, Pitigliano, Roselle, Sorano and Sovana (in the province of Grosseto); Bolgheri, Campiglia Marittima, Piombino, Populonia and Suvereto (in the province of Livorno); Barga, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Castiglione di Garfagnana, Pietrasanta, Viareggio, Villa Basilica (in the province of Lucca); Aulla, Fivizano, Fozdinovo, Pontremoli (in the province of Massa-Carrara); Calci, Lari, San Giuliano Terme, San Miniato, Sasso Pisano, Vicopisano, Volterra (in the province of Pisa); Carmignano and Poggio a Caiano (in the province of Prato); Pescha, Quarrata, Montecatini Terme, Larciano, Collodi, Serravalle Pistoiese, Montevettolini (in the province of Pistoia).
The Renaissance epoch originates from Tuscany and, in particular, from Florence, spreading then to the rest of Italy and Europe. Petrarca, Boccaccio, Botticelli, Piero della Francesca, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Raphael Santi – this is just a small list of Tuscan names that have made an immeasurable contribution to the development of Italian and world culture.
Every year in Tuscany there are many traditional festivals, reflecting the historical, cultural and culinary traditions of the region. There is no such town where colorful events dedicated to the patron saint of the city, to any historical event or traditional local dishes would not take place.
Palio Siena – this horse race on the main town square of Piazza del Campo is traditionally held on July 2 and August 16, its roots go back to the 6th century, and the locals have been preparing for this holiday all year round.
In Pisa, the festivities in honor of the patron saint of the city of Saint Ranieri on June 16 are opened by Luminara, when more than 70 thousand candles decorate palaces on the Arno embankment, reflecting in the water and creating an unforgettable performance of light. The next day a regatta is organized in honor of the patron saint.
In Florence, the celebration of the patron saint of the city, St. John the Baptist, ends on June 24 with the historic Florentine football — a combination of modern football, rugby, and sometimes even free-play players dressed in historical costumes.
In Arezzo, on the main town square, twice a year, in June and September, the “Saracen Tournament” takes place, recreating medieval equestrian competitions, when eight riders compete in agility, trying to run a spear into a mannequin personifying Saracen.
In Pistoia, on July 25, a majestic procession commemorates St. James the Elder, the patron saint of the city, and then 12 riders take part in the medieval Bear Contest (Giostra dell’Orso), trying to hit the target in the form of a bear, which is the heraldic animal of Pistoia.
In Montepulciano on the last Sunday of August there is a race with barrels (Bravio delle Botti). Wooden barrels weighing about 80 kg roll up the streets of the town to the central city square. The competition precedes the march in historical costumes.
In the cities of Massa Marittima (in August) and Sansepolkro (in September), historical crossbowmen games are held, who, dressed in medieval clothes and armed with ancient weapons, compete in accuracy.
Carnival in Viareggio, anticipating the pre-Easter fasting, is one of the most famous in Italy. The bright procession of carts with huge allegorical papier-mâché characters, fireworks and masquerade annually attract thousands of tourists from around the world to the carnival.
The symbol of the carnival in Viareggio. Photo m
Tuscan cuisine consists primarily of dishes and sweets, the preparation of which according to traditional recipes does not change for centuries. From all over Italy, only in Tuscany they cook bread without salt, this tradition dates back to the 12th century, when, during the hostility of Florence and Pisa, the Pisans stopped trading in salt. The reverent attitude of the Tuscans to bread led to the birth of many delicious dishes based on even stale bread.
Another characteristic of Tuscan cuisine is skillfully cooked “white meat” and game. Tuscans eagerly eat and pork, it is enough to mention the famous Tuscan sausages, ham, cooked without salt, blood sausage “buristo”, salsichchi – all this is the result of the ingenuity of poor people. And the glory of the Florentine steak has long gone beyond not only Tuscany, but also Italy.
The famous Florentine steak. A photo
Among the cheeses, it is worth highlighting the pecorino sheep cheese, of varying degrees of aging. The most famous is the pecorino of Pienza and Maremma.
Special attention deserve the famous Supertuscan wines. The DOCG mark, which guarantees the place of origin and production method, is marked by the wines of Carmignano (Prato province), Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, Morellino di Scansano, Vernaccia di San Gimignano and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Another 34 Tuscan wines are labeled DOC, confirming the place of origin.
On the territory of Tuscany, there are 9 state universities.
This is the University of Florence (Universita degli Studi di Firenze) – one of the largest universities in Italy, founded in the XIV century, in which more than 60 thousand students study at 12 faculties, with branches in Calenzano, Empoli, Figline Valdarno, Pistoia, San Giovanni Valdarno, Sesto Fiorentino and Lagonegro. Also in Florence are the Italian Institute of Social Sciences (SUM – Istituto italiano di scienze umane) and the European University (European University Institute).
The University of Pisa (Università di Pisa) is also one of the oldest Italian universities, which opened in 1343 and is attended by about 52,000 students in 11 faculties. Other institutions of higher education in Pisa are the Higher Normal School (Scuola Normale Superiore) and the Graduate School of University Studies and Advanced Studies of St. Anne (Scuola superiore di studi universitari e di perfezionamento Sant’Anna).
University of Siena (Università degli Studi di Siena), founded in 1240, is one of the oldest in Europe. It trains about 17 thousand students in 9 faculties. The university has branches in Arezzo, Grosseto, San Giovanni Valdarno, Follonica and Colle Val d’Elsa. There is also a university for foreigners in Siena (Università per stranieri di Siena), with 900 students studying Italian language and culture.
The emblem of the University of Siena. Photo f
The Institute of Advanced Technologies (Istituto di studi avanzati di Lucca) is located in Lucca. Postgraduate education in four areas is conducted in English.
The basis of the Tuscan economy is the cultivation of grapes, olives, vegetables, fruits and grains, breeding large and small cattle. Cultivated land covers about 39% of the region, pastures and meadows – 5% of the territory, first of all, these are hilly areas.
The industry is developed, first of all, in the mining sector, at a high level chemical, oil refining, machine-building, textile and glass-melting industries. Handicraft production has the oldest roots in many areas of Tuscany.
Tourism makes a significant contribution to the region’s economy, numerous visitors to Tuscany enjoy visiting places associated with art, culture and history, as well as relaxing on the beaches of the Tuscan coast and islands of the Tuscan archipelago. Tourism accounts for about 12% of the region’s GNP.
Airports The main airport in Tuscany is Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa, from which national and international flights are operated. Other passenger airports are in Florence (operating domestic and international flights), Grosseto (military airport serving charter and private flights), on Elba Island (Marina di Campo, charter and private flights), small airports are also available near Arezzo, Lucca, Masses and Siena (all service private flights).
Pisa Airport. A photo
Railways. The main railway line that crosses Tuscany connects Rome and Milan and passes through cities such as Prato, Florence and Arezzo. Between Florence and Rome there is a direct speed line without intermediate stops. The other railway line that crosses Tuscany and connects Rome and Genoa passes through Carrara, Massa, Viareggio, Pisa, Livorno and Grosseto. The third main line connects Florence and Pisa, passing through Empoli.
Highways. From the north to the south Tuscany is crossed by the A1 motorway, connecting Florence and Arezzo with cities such as Milan, Bologna, Rome and Naples. Florence with the Tuscan coast is connected by the A11 motorway, also passing through Prato, Pistoia, Montecatini Terme and Lucca. The SS 3bis / E45 superstrada runs in the eastern side of the region, connecting Umbria and Romagna.
More than 3.5 million people live in Tuscany, which is 6% of the total population of Italy. The population density is about 155 inhabitants per
364 thousand foreigners live in the region (as of December 31, 2010). Among them, the largest number are people from Eastern Europe, first of all, Romanians (77 thousand) and Albanians (68 thousand), followed by representatives of the African continent, the smallest percentage are citizens of Asian and American countries. At the same time, the largest number of Chinese live in the zone of Florence and Prato, making up the most numerous foreign diaspora in Tuscany.
The most populated cities are Florence (373 thousand inhabitants), Prato (189 thousand), Livorno (161 thousand), Arezzo (101 thousand), Pistoia (90 thousand), Pisa (88 thousand), Lucca (85 thousand), Grosseto (82 thousand), Mass (71 thousand), Carrara (65 thousand).
Tuscany is one of the most visited places in the world by tourists; among the regions of Italy itself, it ranks second after Lazio. Thanks to its rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, landscape diversity, Tuscany is able to satisfy a wide range of tourist requests: from exploring places of culture and art to relaxing holidays in the thermal springs or on the seashore. In general, guests of the region have access to more
Tuscany is proud of its rich tourist traditions, and not only thanks to such world-famous cities as Florence, Pisa, Siena and Lucca. The region is also rich in many other places, attractive for its beauty and centuries-old history. Small, but at the same time very interesting small towns of San Gimignano, Volterra, Cortona, Pienza, Pitigliano, bigger centers, such as Arezzo or Lucca, annually attract a huge number of tourists, primarily from abroad.
Pitigliano is a city that grew out of a cliff. T photo
Health tourism offers a lot of resort places, first of all, in Versilia, where sea bathing lovers gathered at the beginning of the 20th century. The 100-km stretch of coast between Livorno and Piombino, called the “Etruscan Coast”, as well as the Tuscan Maremma, are excellent places to relax by the sea. The islands of the Tuscan archipelago, among which the island of Elba stands out, attract lovers of diving and boat trips.
Agritourism and enogastronomic tourism accompanying it is well developed in all rural areas of the region, especially in the towns of Maremma, Chianti, Mugello, Crete-Senesi, Val di Chiana, Val di Cecina, Val d’Orcia.
Recently, cycling has been actively developing in the region: many equipped cycle routes for hundreds of kilometers dodge in places of virgin nature among breathtaking landscapes.
Thermal tourism offers a wide range of centers in Saturnia, Rapolano, Chianciano and Montecatini, and the complex in Monte Abetone attracts skiers and lovers of active winter recreation every winter.
Thermal center in Saturnia. T photo
As an example, take a short tour along the roads of Chianti.
It is difficult to say the more the area between Florence and Siena attracts travelers: ancient cities that cherish the treasures of art and history or the unique beauty and diversity of the landscape. The first thing that occurs on the way of a tourist heading from Florence towards the famous Chianti hills is the Cartesian Monastery in Galluzzo. The main church of San Lorenzo and the monastic buildings certainly deserve attention for its unique architecture, typical of many Cartesian buildings. The monastic ensembles of this order are often called the Chertoz, and the Certosa del Galluzzo specialists are recognized as one of the most prominent Cartesian complexes in Italy (it is second only to the Pavia Certose).
Monastery complex Certosa del Gallutstso. Photo f
The monastery was founded in 1342. Since then, a small refuge of the Cartesians was completed and rebuilt until it acquired a modern look. The main part of the whole complex was and remains a large courtyard, framed around the perimeter of a wide loggia. To people familiar with the work of Filippo Brunelleschi, the architectural design of the courtyard will resemble the famous Educational House in Florence, but instead of babies in medallions are depicted the holy representatives of the Christian Church.
The heart of Chertoza is the church of San Lorenzo, which in anxious time fulfilled not only a spiritual, but also a wave of a practical role,
Continuing the journey towards Certaldo, we first pass a small town. San Casciano in Val di Pesa, known primarily for the church of Misericordia, which stores several paintings of great artistic value, and then take a look at Fiano. Sprawling on the highest of the surrounding hills, the city looks surprisingly picturesque against green fields and misty mountains. Here, our eyes will open the castle of Lukardo and the church of San Martino, and a little distance away – the Romanesque church dedicated to St. Lazarus.
The hilly landscapes are noticeably enlivened by the small rivers Peza and Elsa – these are small tributaries feeding the famous Arno River. Just on one of them – Elsa and there is a town Chertaldo. The higher part of the city, known as Castello (castle), is very attractive for tourists,
Palazzo Pretorio in Certaldo. T photo
Not far from the house of Boccaccio is the church of Saints Michele and Jacopo (XIII century), which was restored already in our time, the inner courtyard of the church is worth an extra visit. In the right part is the tomb of Giovanni Boccaccio, the tombstone for which was executed in 1503 by the sculptor Giovanni Francesco Rustici. Further, in the direction of travel, a small square will open, where the Vicar Palace is located. At various times, he served both as a palace of supreme power, and as the residence of Florentine vicars (their coats of arms are adorned on the laconic facade of the building). The interior of the palace is decorated with frescoes by artist Pierre Francesco Fiorentino (end of the 15th – beginning of the 16th centuries).
Next comes the city San gimignano, which strikes travelers with the unusual beauty of its silhouette with its many towers. To many tourists, it seems the most picturesque of the cities of Tuscany. The main squares of San Gimignano – Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Cisterna (on which there was a water reservoir from the 13th century) can be called typical Italian squares, however you should carefully examine them and also visit the university church and the city government palace Palazzo del Popolo, XIII-XIV centuries.), which houses a magnificent art gallery.
From San Gimignano the road leads to a place Poggibonsi, a little away from it is the secluded convent of San Lucchese.
Medieval village Monteriggioni it stands out against the background of the surrounding nature with powerful fortress walls and fourteen watchtowers. This outpost was built in 1213 as a guard fortification to protect the northern borders of Siena, which lies surrounded by soft hills covered with green vineyards and silvery olive groves. Here, in the regions of Castellina and Greve, grapes are grown for the famous Chianti wine.
Fortress town Monteriggioni. H photo
It is worth to call in a place Castello di broglio – the birthplace of modern winemaking that produces Chianti wine. It was here in 1870 that Baron Bettino Ricazoli discovered the original recipe for preparing the most famous Italian wine in the world. To obtain a divine drink, he took several specific grape varieties, both red and white, and to achieve a characteristic taste and aroma, he added raisins to the barrels. Not such a complex composition, but the real wine can be tasted only here, among the hills of Chianti, where the Tuscan air and the Italian sun are added to the divine aroma of the grapes.
Quite a few people come from Tuscany, who brought fame to the region and all of Italy and made an invaluable contribution to world art, culture and science.
This is Dante Alighieri (1265
writers and poets Pietro Aretino (1492), Francesco Petrarch (1304), Giovanni Bocaccio (1313), Carlo Collodi (1826); Josué Carducci (1835);
painters, sculptors, architects Giotto (1267), Cimabue (1240), Luca Signorelli (1445), Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255), Simone Martini (1284), Antonio del Pollaiolo (1433), Fra Beato Angelico (1400), Sandro Botticelli (1445), Benvenuto Cellini (1500), Donatello (1386), Filippo Brunelleschi (1377), Piero della Francesca (1420), Giorgio Vasari (1511), Giovanni Fattori (1825), Amedeo Modigliani (1884);
Sandro Botticelli, self-portrait. A photo
thinkers and scientists Niccolò Macchiavelli (1469), Galileo Galilei (1564); travelers Giovanni da Verrazzano (1485) and Amerigo Vespucci (1454), music theorist Guido Aretinsky (990), inventor Antonio Meucci (1808), composer Giacomo Puccini (1858).
Of the famous Tuscan contemporaries, the actors Roberto Benigni, Leonardo Pierachchoni, Giorgio Panariello deserve attention; musicians Lorenzo Cherubini (Giovanotti), Gianna Nannini, Enzo Ginazzi (Pupo), Irene Grande, Piero Pelo; footballers Gianluigi Buffon, Luciano Spalletti, Marcello Lippi, gymnast Yuri Keki, director Franco Dzeffirelli.