Toscana, also known in the English-speaking world by its English cognate, Tuscany, is a region of central Italy’s western coast.
It is known for being the birthplace of the Renaissance, and therefore is also known for its cultural achievements. In addition to the beautiful artwork and history of the region, it is also an area of high natural beauty.
Tuscany’s capital, Florence, is the world’s 46th most visited city. Other famous cities in Florence include Siena, Pisa and Pienza.
Wilderness areas like the Val d’Orcia also highlight the varied climate of Tuscany, which has been dubbed a nation within a nation because of its culture and size. In addition to green hills and flat areas near the coast, the region is also home to several mountain chains. The largest of these chains are the Appenines.
The interior of the region is used popularly for agriculture, as the temperature changes between summer and winter cause the soil to be perfect for growing wheat. Wine is produced in Tuscany, the most well-known being Chianti.
Other wines produced in the region include Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. These wines are produced mainly along the coastal areas, where the grapes grow best in the milder weather.
The Birthplace of the Renaissance
Tuscany, being the birthplace of the Renaissance, is home to many monuments and statues. Many rich families who governed the area during its history built palaces and monuments for their families which remain standing today, including the Castello dell’Imperatore in Prato and the Palazzo Vecchio, the city hall of Florence, built by the Uberti family.
The Medici family of Florence presided over the Renaissance Republic era of the city, and are largely responsible for the region’s sculptural and artistic heritage today.
Painters and Sculptors
Florence was the home of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello and several other Renaissance-era painters and sculptors. Their works can be seen throughout Tuscany, in the Sistine Chapel, the Cathedral of Pisa, San Gimagniano and several other cultural centers found throughout the region.
In other forms of art, Tuscany was the birthplace of Puccini, the greatest Italian musical composer of the Romantic period, and it was the meeting place of the Florentine Camerata, the organization whose ideas eventually led to the creation of opera, the symphony and several other musical styles.
Several famous authors and poets also hail from Tuscany, including Dante, Petrarch, Guinizzelli and Francesco de Barberino.
Things to do
There are several things for visitors to do in Tuscany. Agritourism is a high industry in the region, which allows tourists to visit Tuscan farms in order to see the region’s natural beauty. Other things to do in Tuscany include the observance of beautiful architecture, and swimming in the sea along the region’s internationally famous beautiful coasts.
Also, there is a very traditionalist food scene in Tuscany, which is a delight to many visitors all year round.