The name Tuscany is derived from an Etruscan tribe that settled there about 1000 BC. Tuscia came into official use under the Roman Empire in the 3rd century.
Tuscany is one of the most prosperous agricultural regions in Italy, specializing in wheat, olives, and wines. Vegetables and fruit are also grown, while cattle, horses, pigs, and poultry are also raised. Tuscan agriculture is characterized by the mezzadria system, with the landlord, who provides capital and current expenses, sharing the harvest with the tenant, who supplies the labor. There is now, however, a growing movement towards agricultural cooperatives.
Once a maritime power to rival Genoa and Venice, modern Pisa is best known for an architectural project gone terribly wrong, the world-famous Leaning Tower.
The 58m-high tower, officially the Duomo's campanile (bell tower), took almost 200 years to build but was already listing when it was unveiled in 1372. Over time, the tilt, caused by a layer of weak subsoil, steadily worsened until it was finally halted by a major stabilization project in the 1990s.
What is the fatal charm of Italy? What do we find there that can be found nowhere else? I believe it is a certain permission to be human, which other places, other countries, lost long ago.Erica Jong
The site of Siena was originally an Etruscan settlement that later became the Roman city of Sena Julia. Flourishing under the Lombard kings became a self-governing commune in the 12th century. Economic rivalry and territorial conflict with neighboring Florence led to the Battle of Montaperti of 1260 when their army crushed the Florentines.
Siena became an important banking center in the 13th century but was unable to compete with its rival, Florence. The imperial cause declined, and the popes imposed economic sanctions against Siena’s Ghibelline merchants.
Within its wall there are 99 churches.
Lucca is a small medieval town located near the Ligurian Sea, with an old town that is surrounded by 30 foot-wide walls. Lucca was founded by the Etruscans and became a Roman colony in 180 BC, which accounts for its rectangular street plan.
Lucca was the principal city in Tuscany in the 9th and 10th centuries when its Counts became the Margraves of Tuscany, and it commanded one of the principal roads between Lombardy and Rome, the Via Francigena. The city began to lose importance in the late 10th century to Florence, which replaced Lucca as the Tuscan capital when the House of Canossa succeeded to the Margravate.