Tuscany (/ ˈtʌskəni / TUSK-ə-nee; Italian: Toscana ) is a region of central Italy with an area of approximately 23,000 square kilometers (8,900 square miles) and a population of approximately 3.8 million inhabitants (2013). The regional capital is Florence (Firenze).
Tuscany is known for its landscapes, its history, its artistic heritage and its influence on high culture. It is considered the cradle of the Italian Renaissance and has hosted many influential figures in the history of art and science, and contains famous museums such as the Uffizi and Palazzo Pitti. Tuscany produces wines, including Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino. With a strong linguistic and cultural identity, it is sometimes considered "a nation within a nation".
Tuscany is a popular destination in Italy; the main tourist locations are Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Siena, Versilia, Maremma and Chianti. The village of Castiglione della Pescaia is the most visited seaside destination in the region, with seaside tourism accounting for around 40% of tourist arrivals. Furthermore, Siena, Lucca, the Chianti region, Versilia and Val d'Orcia are also places of international fame and particularly popular with travelers.
Seven Tuscan towns have been designated World Heritage Sites: the historic center of Florence (1982); the cathedral square of Pisa (1987); the historic center of San Gimignano (1990); the historic center of Siena (1995); the historic center of Pienza (1996); Val d'Orcia (2004) and Medici villas and gardens (2013). Tuscany has over 120 protected nature reserves, making Tuscany and its capital Florence popular tourist destinations that attract millions of tourists every year. In 2012, the city of Florence was the 89th most visited city in the world, with 1,834 million arrivals.
Of an approximately triangular shape, Tuscany borders the regions of Liguria in the north-west, Emilia-Romagna in the north, the Marche in the north-east, Umbria in the east and Lazio in the south-east. The municipality (municipality) of Badia Tedalda, in the Tuscan province of Arezzo, has an enclave called Ca 'Raffaello in Emilia-Romagna.
Tuscany has a western coast on the Ligurian Sea and on the Tyrrhenian Sea, including the Tuscan archipelago, of which the largest island is Elba. Tuscany has an area of approximately 22,993 square kilometers (8,878 square miles). Surrounded and crossed by the main mountain ranges and with few (but fertile) plains, the region has a prominence dominated by the hill country used for agriculture. The hills make up almost two thirds (66.5%) of the region's total area, covering 15,292 square kilometers (5,904 square kilometers) and mountains (of which the highest are the Apennines), a further 25% or 5,770 square kilometers (2,230 sq mi). The plains occupy 8.4% of the total area - 1,930 square kilometers (750 square miles) - mainly around the Arno valley. Many of the largest Tuscan cities are located on the banks of the Arno, including the capital Florence, Empoli and Pisa.
The climate is fairly mild in the coastal areas, and it is more rigid and rainy inside, with significant temperature fluctuations between winter and summer, giving the region an active freezing-thawing cycle of the soil, in part explaining the region had once been an important bread basket of ancient Rome.
Sunflower field in Maremma
Tuscan landscape near Siena
Hilly landscape in Val d'Orcia
Vineyard in Tuscany
Valley in San Gimignano
Apennine, Proto-Villanovan and Villanovan culture
The pre-Etruscan history of the area in the middle and late Bronze Age parallels that of the early Greeks. The Tuscan area was inhabited by peoples of the so-called Apennine culture in the second millennium BC. (around 1400-1150 BC) who maintained commercial relations with the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations in the Aegean Sea, and, at the end of the Bronze Age, by the peoples of the so-called Proto-Villanovan culture (c. 1100-900 BC ), part of Urnfield's Central European cultural system. Later, at the beginning of the Iron Age, the Villanovan culture (ca. 900–700 BC), considered the most ancient phase of the Etruscan civilization, saw Tuscany and the rest of Etruria take over by chiefdoms. The city-states developed in the late Villanovan (parallel to Greece and the Aegean Sea) before "Orientation" occurred.
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuscany