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(tŭs`kənē), Ital. Toscana, region (1991 pop. 3,538,619), 8,876 sq mi (22,989 sq km), N central Italy, bordering on the Tyrrhenian Sea in the west and including the Tuscan Archipelago. FlorenceFlorence
, Ital. Firenze, city (1991 pop. 403,294), capital of Tuscany and of Firenze prov., central Italy, on the Arno River, at the foot of the Apennines. Florence, the jewel of the Italian Renaissance, is one of the world's great historic cities.
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 is the capital of the region, which is divided into the provinces of Arezzo, Florence, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa-Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, and Siena (named for their principal cities).

In the late Middle Ages and throughout the Renaissance, Tuscany was a center of the arts and of learning. The Tuscan spoken language became the literary language of Italy after Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, and Boccaccio used it. Notable schools of architecture, sculpture, and painting developed from the 11th cent. in many cities, particularly Florence, Pisa, Siena, and Arezzo. From the 16th cent., however, intellectual and artistic life was almost wholly concentrated in Florence. There are universities at Florence, Pisa, and Siena.

Physical Geography and Economy

This prosperous economic region is mostly hilly and mountainous. There is much fertile soil, especially in the Arno River valley and in the MaremmaMaremma
, coastal area in Tuscany, central Italy, along the Tyrrhenian Sea and extending E to the Apennines. A flourishing region in Etruscan and early Roman times, it became marshy and was largely abandoned in the Middle Ages because of malaria. Reclamation was begun (19th cent.
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, a coastal strip. The Apennines are in northern and eastern Tuscany; in the northwest are the Alpi Apuane, where the famous Carrara marble is quarried; and there are also mountains in the south, where iron, magnesium, and quicksilver are produced. In addition, borax is produced in the Maremma, and iron is mined on Elba island. Along the northern coast, which is low and sandy, are fine pine woods. Farm products of the region include cereals, olives, tobacco, and grapes; sheep, goats, and hogs are widely raised. The wine produced in the Chianti district near Siena is world famous.

Tuscany has considerable industry, although farming is still an important chief occupation. Manufactures include cotton and woolen textiles, metal products, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles, precision instruments, glass, refined petroleum, and fertilizer. The region is also well-known for its artisans, especially those in Florence, and tourism is an important industry.


Modern Tuscany corresponds to the larger part of ancient EtruriaEtruria
, ancient country, W central Italy, now forming Tuscany and part of Umbria. It was the territory of the Etruscans, who in the 6th cent. B.C. spread Etruscan civilization throughout much of Italy. They were later forced back into Etruria and ultimately dispersed.
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, and most of our knowledge of Etruscan civilizationEtruscan civilization,
highest civilization in Italy before the rise of Rome. The core of the territory of the Etruscans, known as Etruria to the Latins, was northwest of the Tiber River, now in modern Tuscany and part of Umbria.
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 is derived from findings there. The Romans conquered the region in the mid-4th cent. B.C. After the fall of Rome, it was a Lombard duchy (6th–8th cent. A.D.), with Lucca as its capital, and later a powerful march under the Franks (8th–12th cent.). MatildaMatilda,
1046–1115, countess of Tuscany, called the Great Countess; supporter of Pope Gregory VII in the papal conflict with the Holy Roman emperors. Ruling over Tuscany and parts of Emilia-Romagna and Umbria, she controlled the most powerful feudal state in central Italy.
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 (d.1115), the last Frankish ruler, bequeathed her lands to the papacy, an act which long caused strife between popes and emperors.

In spite of the dual claims, most cities became (11th–12th cent.) free communes; some of them (Pisa, Lucca, Siena, and Florence) developed into strong republics. Commerce, industry, and the arts flourished. Guelph (pro-papal) and Ghibelline (pro-imperial) strife, however, was particularly violent in Tuscany, and there were strong rivalries both within and among cities. After a period of Pisan hegemony (12th–13th cent.), Florence gained control over most Tuscan cities in the 14th–15th cent.; Siena (1559) was the last city to fall under Florence's influence.

Under the MediciMedici
, Italian family that directed the destinies of Florence from the 15th cent. until 1737. Of obscure origin, they rose to immense wealth as merchants and bankers, became affiliated through marriage with the major houses of Europe, and, besides acquiring (1569) the title
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, the ruling family of Florence, Tuscany became (1569) a grand duchy, and thus again a political entity; only the republic of Lucca and the duchy of Massa and Carrara remained independent. After the extinction of the Medici line, Tuscany passed (1737) to ex-duke Francis of Lorraine (later Holy Roman Emperor Francis IFrancis I,
1708–65, Holy Roman emperor (1745–65), duke of Lorraine (1729–37) as Francis Stephen, grand duke of Tuscany (1737–65), husband of Archduchess Maria Theresa.
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), who was succeeded by Grand Duke Leopold I (1765–90; later Emperor Leopold IILeopold II,
1747–92, Holy Roman emperor (1790–92), king of Bohemia and Hungary (1790–92), as Leopold I grand duke of Tuscany (1765–90), third son of Maria Theresa.
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) and then by Ferdinand III (1790–1801; 1814–24). The French Revolutionary armies invaded Tuscany in 1799, and it was briefly included in the kingdom of Etruria (1801–7) and was ruled under the duchy of Parma, before it was annexed to France by Napoleon I.

In 1814, Tuscany again became a grand duchy, under the returning Ferdinand III and then under Leopold II (1824–59) and briefly under Ferdinand IV (1859–60). In 1848, Leopold was forced to grant a constitution, and in 1849 he had to leave Tuscany briefly when it was for a short time a republic. However, in 1852 he was able, with the help of Austria, to rescind the constitution. In 1860, Tuscany voted to unite with the kingdom of SardiniaSardinia, kingdom of,
name given to the possessions of the house of Savoy (see Savoy, house of) in 1720, when the island of Sardinia was awarded (by the Treaty of London) to Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy to compensate him for the loss of Sicily to Austria.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Toscana), a region in central Italy, on the northwest Italian Peninsula, on the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian seas. Area, 23,000 sq km. Population, 3.5 million (1973).

Tuscany comprises the provinces of Massa e Carrara, Lucca, Pistoia, Florence, Leghorn (Livorno), Pisa, Arezzo, Siena, and Grosseto; Florence is its principal city and economic center. The region includes several small islands, including Elba. Most of the region is mountainous, dominated by the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines (peaks exceeding 2,000 m) and their foothills and by the Apuanian Alps (Monte Pisanino, 1,945 m). Tuscany’s extinct volcanoes, including Monte Amiata (1,734 m), are associated with faults. The coastal lowland of the Maremma consists mainly of drained swamps. Approximately 38 percent of Tuscany is covered by forest.

Tuscany is an economically developed region. Industry employs 47.4 percent of the working population, and agriculture employs 13.1 percent (1970). Minerals and ores mined in the area include cinnabar (near the city of Amiata), iron ore (Elba), brown coal (San Giovanni Valdarno), pyrites (Gavorrano), and marble (Carrara). In 1972, 8 billion kW-hr of electricity was produced, primarily at thermal electric power plants. Industries include metallurgy (mainly in Piombino), machine building (Florence, Pistoia, Massa, Prato, Leghorn), petroleum refining, textiles (Florence, Prato), and the production of chemicals and paper. Over one-half of the agricultural land is sown with wheat and other grains, sugar beets, and tobacco. Approximately one-fifth is devoted to orchards, vineyards, and olive groves, and about one-fifth is meadow and pasture. Swine and sheep are raised. Tuscany’s principal tourist centers are Florence, Pisa, and Siena.


In ancient times, Tuscany was known as Tuscia or Etruria. In the early third century B.C. it was conquered by the Romans. In the late fifth century A.D. the region was captured by the Ostrogoths, in the sixth century by the Byzantines, and later by the Lombards. At the end of the eighth century Tuscany belonged to Charlemagne, and in the ninth century it became a margravate. At the end of the tenth century it became part of the Holy Roman Empire. The city-states of Florence, Lucca, Siena, Pisa, Arezzo, and Pistoia arose during the 11th and 12th centuries, each with a developed system of trade and handicrafts. In the early 15th century Tuscany was brought under the control of the Medici, the rulers of Florence. In 1569 the Medici became the grand dukes of Tuscany, which embraced the republics of Florence and Siena. In 1737, Tuscany came under the rule of the house of Lorraine, an offshoot of the Austrian Hapsburgs. In 1800, during the Napoleonic Wars, the duchy was occupied by French troops; by the Treaty of Lunéville (1801), the Kingdom of Etruria was formed in Tuscany. In 1807–08, Etruria was annexed by France and remained part of the empire until 1815.

In 1847 the Duchy of Lucca was joined to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The revolutionary movement, which assumed major proportions in Tuscany in 1848 and 1849, was suppressed by Austrian troops. Popular uprisings during the Revolution of 1859–60 led to the overthrow of Leopold II, grand duke of Tuscany, in 1859. In March 1860 a plebiscite was held; the duchy was dissolved, and Tuscany became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which became the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. In 1943, during World War II, Tuscany was occupied by fascist German troops but was liberated in 1944 by the resistance movement.

Tuscany is a major center of the democratic movement in modern Italy; Communists and other leftists receive a significant share of the vote in parliamentary and municipal elections.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a region of central Italy, on the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas: corresponds roughly to ancient Etruria; a region of numerous small states in medieval times; united in the 15th and 16th centuries under Florence; united with the rest of Italy in 1861. Capital: Florence. Pop.: 3 516 296 (2003 est.). Area: 22 990 sq. km (8876 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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