Brief History of Tuscany
Tuscany is the region of Italy to the West that contains its capital city Florence, and many other wonderful cities such as Pisa, Siena, Livorno, Arezzo, and Lucca. As the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Tuscany is known as the birthplace of many historical figures that influenced the world’s depictions of ‘high culture’; art and science.
Going a little further back in time, the beginnings of what is now known as Tuscany (known as Toscana in Italy) comes from the Etruscans; a pre-Roman civilisation that laid the foundational infrastructure of the city from the 10th century BC until the Roman Empire in the 2nd century BC. The Roman Empire for the great period that it existed, neglected the region of Tuscany. The region suffered some minor investments in technology, but gradual decline plagued Tuscany during this period.
In the 12th century, a new social class began to emerge which challenged the feudal order. Florence and Siena sought growth through investment in their financial industries, and industrial trade related to textiles and agriculture. Florence as a predominant power annexed Arezzo in 1384, bought Pisa in 1405 and Livorno in 1421. By the 15th century, Lucca and Siena remained as the only remaining independent Tuscan cities.
The Medici family rose to power during this period, thus marking the beginnings of The Renaissance. Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante and Machiavelli’s writings and influence – as hailing from Tuscany – formed the modern Italian lexicon; beginning the cultural revolution that the region of Tuscany is so famous for.
Authoritatively speaking, Siena was eventually brought into the regional arm of Tuscany in 1555. Beforehand, a period of re-feudalisation occurred as the upper classes began developing land as opposed to industry. This period largely coincided with the Renaissance.
Napoleon briefly ruled the region, assigning his sister to be the Grand Duchess of Tuscany from 1809-1814. Lucca actually remained independent until 1847. In that year, its populace decided to join Siena as part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
Florence briefly became the capital of Italy in 1865 for 6 years thus improving the region’s influence and power over the entirety of the country. The status was given to Rome afterwards, lessening its influence but never overshadowing the importance of Tuscany, or its capital.