Tuscany is a region in central Italy, with Florence as its stunning capital. Some of the world’s most recognisable art, music and architecture derived from this area. Michelangelo’s “David” statue, some of Botticelli’s most famous works and the Duomo Basilica are all in the capital. Tuscany is well known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. It boasts internationally renowned museums such as the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. The incredibly diverse natural landscape includes the dramatic Apennine Mountains. You will want to set aside plenty of shore leave on this yacht charter.
Known for its traditions, history and artistic legacy
The area is known for its traditions, history and artistic legacy. Additionally, the region offers a true cultural influence plus breathtaking landscapes to enjoy. The charming island of Elba, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, offers golden beaches and romantic olive groves. Also, the Chianti vineyards are another visual treasure that is worth investigating.
Places to visit
Tuscany is a must-see part of Italy for Italians and visitors alike. Consequently, the top tourist destinations in the region are Florence, Pisa, and Montecatini Terme. Additionally, the village of Castiglione della Pescaia is loved by visitors who return to this seaside resort year after year.
Tuscany boasts seven World Heritage Sites. These include the historic centre of Florence, the Cathedral square of Pisa, the historical centres of San Gimignano, Siena, Pienza, and the Val d’Orcia. Last, but not least, is the Medici Villa and its beautiful gardens.
Geography & Climate
Tuscany has a western coastline on the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas. The land area is both surrounded and dissected by major mountain chains. Most of the largest Tuscan cities are in the valleys, on the banks of the River Arno, and include Florence, Empoli and Pisa. Elba is the most famous island in the Tuscan Archipelago because of Napolean ´s exile there.
The climate is relatively mild in the coastal areas of the region with a cooler and wetter interior. There are considerable fluctuations in temperature between summer and winter.
During the late Bronze and Iron Ages, the Apennine people inhabited the area. They traded with the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations with trading routes across the Aegean Sea. Following this, the Villanovans saw Tuscany taken over by chiefdoms together with the rest of Etruria. Later, the Etruscans rose up and became the ruling power.
The Etruscans created the first major civilisation in this region. They established a transport infrastructure, developed agriculture and mining economies and produced vibrant art. Their culture thrived in the area between the Arno and Tiber Rivers from the 8th century B.C. The Romans invaded during the 1st-century B.C.
Rome established the cities of Lucca, Pisa, Siena, and Florence. The area benefitted from the new Roman technology. The Romans rebuilt and extended roads, and introduced aqueducts and sewers. The Roman civilisation collapsed in the 5th century A.D. Tuscany fell briefly to migrating Barbarians from eastern Europe and central Asia. The Byzantines, under Emperor Justinian, conquered the land in 572 A.D.
Pilgrims travelling between Rome and France were the region´s first tourists, during the medieval period. Fuelling the growth of communities around new churches, these travellers gave good business to the local inns. Subsequently, a conflict began between the factions supporting the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. The Tuscan people experienced a split in allegiance between the two. A balance between these communities depended on their assets. Pisa offered a trading port; Siena was a wealthy banking city; Lucca claimed both the banking and silk trades. By the beginning of the Renaissance, Florence had become the cultural capital of Tuscany.
The Black Death
An epidemic hit Tuscany in 1348. Nearly 75% of the Tuscan population died of the Black Death within a year. Three centuries later, Tuscany suffered from an outbreak of the same plague, in 1630.
The Medici family
One family that benefitted from the growing wealth and power of Florence was the Medici family. Its scion, Lorenzo de’ Medici, was the most prominent member of the ruling dynasty. The legacy of his influence is still visible today in the prodigious expression of architecture and art in Florence. His famous descendant, Catherine de’ Medici, married Prince Henry of France in 1533 and became the French queen. The Medici family died out with the last descendant, Gian Gastone, in 1737. Francis, Duke of Lorraine became ruler. The Duke married the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. The Lorena dynasty ruled Tuscany until 1860, except during the Napoleonic period. During this time, the country became annexed to France. Eventually, after the demise of Napoleon and a revolution, Tuscany became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
Under Benito Mussolini, the area became dominated by Fascist leaders. After the fall of Mussolini and a brief period of Nazi socialist control, the Allied forces conquered Tuscany. After the Second World War, the area began to flourish as an Italian cultural centre once more.