Tuscany (Italian Toscana) is a region in central Italy, bordering on Latium to the south, Umbria and Marche to the east, Emilia-Romagna and Liguria to the north, and the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west. It is often regarded as among the most beautiful parts of Italy. Tuscany was essentially the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, and its artistic heritage includes architecture, painting and sculpture, collected in dozens of museums, the best-known of which is the Uffizi in Florence and in situ in even quite small cities. Tuscany is known for its wines (most famous of which are Chianti, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino) and has 120 protected regions (nature reserves). Notable tourist destinations in Tuscany include Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, the Maremma, the Crete Senesi, the Lunigiana and Garfagnana areas, and the island of Elba. Provinces of Tuscany:
Arezzo, Florence (Firenze), Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa-Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato, Siena. History:
The first human beings occupied the territory of region already in ancient times, but those who began its real rearrangement were Etruscans. They founded the first cities, introduced some agricultural plants, improved the fertile lands, built aqueducts, excavated and elaborated iron of Elba and mercury of Amiata, constructed the first ports on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Romans continued this work founding the colonies and building the long roads connecting the region with Rome (Aurelia, Clodia, Cassia, Flaminia). With the collapse of empire Tuscany was first devastated by German peoples, Odoacre and Goths. Later it was governed by Lombards and Franks. For nearly all of its history Tuscany was a prosperous region very well supplied with the communication network of roads, ports and later railways, industry (Florence-Prato-Pistoia, Valdarno) and touristic infrastructure. Climate:
The region has Mediterranean climate on the sea costs, continental climate in the inland, and mountain climates in the zones of higher altitudes. Landscape:
Tuscany posesses a number of various landscapes. The zone of Apennines is characterized by modest agricultural economy and depopulation of the territory. The zone of hills lies on the territory of Florence, Pistoia and Lucca. The plain zone of Pisa and Valdarno is the most industrialized part of the central Italy. The zone of the sea costs is quite low and is covered by the pine forests, it is a well developed touristic part of Tuscany. The greatest valleys of the region are Lunigiana, Garfagnana, Mugello, Casentino, Val Tiberina, the main river is Arno and two lakes are Massaciuccoli and Chiusi. Should be noticed that with the ages the original landscape of Tuscany changed a lot, and only few places conserved the ancient classic beauty. Agriculture and breeding:
During the last decades the agricultural system of the region transformed a lot. Numerous countryside zones were urbanized due to the effect of industrialization. Some traditional cultivated plants were substituted by the new ones: olive-yards to wine-yards. The most important agricultural products in Tuscany are flowers, wine grape and oil. Less important are cultivation of maize, vegetables and fruits. On the way of development is production of tobacco and sugar beet. The breeding (sheep) and fishing is on the medium level in comparison with an average Italian rate in these sectors. Industry:
Tuscany continues the extraction tradition of marble (Apuane) and of thermic energy (Larderello). But since the 60's of this century especially in the valley of Arno between Pisa and Montevarchi and Lucca and Florence was settled so called industry of transformation. It includes a great number of little and medium metallurgical, mechanic, food, textile, chemical, clothing, furniture, construction, publishing and etc. companies. Among the other activities of the region on the first place is tourism (10% of national touristic sector) and on the second is commerce.