Tuscany (Italian: Toscana), a region in west central Italy with an area of 22,992 sq km (8,877 sq mi), is bounded by the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian seas to the west and the regions of Emilia-Romagna to the north, the Marche and Umbria to the east, and Rome to the south. With its capital at FLORENCE, and comprising the provinces of Arezzo, Florence, Grossetto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa-Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, and Siena, as well as ELBA and other islands in the Tuscan Archipelago, the region has a population of 3,560,582 (1990 est.).
In spite of an often hilly or mountainous terrain with extensive mineral deposits (notably Carrara marble), Tuscany produces a wide array of agricultural products--grain, olives, tobacco, grapes (made into Chianti wine), and livestock. Tuscan manufactures include ships, textiles, glass, chemicals, and handicrafts. Tourists come to see the region's striking countryside and medieval and Renaissance towns and cities.
Successively ruled by Etruscans, Romans (3d century BC-6th century AD), Lombards (6th-8th centuries), and Franks (8th-12th centuries), Tuscany began in the 11th century to break up into numerous free communes. During the 14th through the 16th century, however, Florence progressively brought the region's city-states under its domination, and in 1569 the MEDICI rulers of Florence were created grand dukes of Tuscany. In 1737 the grand duchy passed to the house of Habsburg-Lorraine, in whose possession it remained (except for a period of French rule, 1799-1814) until joining united Italy in 1860.
(in the picture the Toscany region and the vinicultural region of Chianti and Chianti Classico Wine)
(To the next page: The Chianti Region)