The Tuscan region has always been inhabited, since the history of the humanity. The oldest evidence of human settlement in Tuscany, date back to the Paleolithic. In the Tuscany’s history we have evidence of Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and, of course, of the Etruscan civilization. From the Etruscan name come out the current region name of “Tuscany”.
The Etruscan were an important civilization where men and women had similar rights. They built important cities -like Volterra-, connected with good roads. They built thermal baths and they drained swamps. But they were defeated by the Romans, superiors militarily. The Romans created new towns -like Florence– with their walls, theaters, thermal baths…
With the barbarian invasions Tuscany come under the Ostrogothic and Byzantine power. Then the Lombard took the power and created Tuscany as independent region. But by the twelfth century, the Tuscan cities were gradually gaining their independence as republics and the region was, once again, fractured. These cities got rich thanks to trade of high quality handmade products knew all around Europe like the textile manufacture.
By the high Middle Ages, the textile manufacture, trade, banking, and agriculture were important activities in Florence, Siena, Pisa… With all that richness all these city states were rivals. They wanted to conquer more territory and power and there were always at war with each other. Little by little Florence conquered all the other city states. In the fifteenth century, the Medici family became dominant in the Florence government and they become the lords of Florence.
Under the power of the Medici family – particularly with Lorenzo de Medici -, the arts and literature flourished as nowhere else in Europe. This period is known as the Renaissance, that means the rebirth after the Middle Ages. During this special historical period Florence had, between its citizens ilustre writers such as Dante, Petrarch, and Macchiavelli. There were also architects and artists such as Botticelli, Brunelleschi (who designed the Cupola of the Florence Cathedral), Alberti, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Michelangelo. Because of this important period of art and literature, the Florentine language became the literary language of the Italian region and today it corresponds at the old Italian language.
When the Medici Family extinguished, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany passed under the family of Lorraine, Austrian Dukes of Lorraine. They modernized the local administration and made agricultural improvements, the most important was the draining of the Maremma and Valdichiana areas. In 1860, with the Italian independence movements, there was a plebiscite in Tuscany where they decided to enter inside the Italian constitutional monarchy of Victor Emmanuel II.
Since that moment, the history of Tuscany is identified with that of the Italian State, maintaining its identity. In fact, today Tuscany is a unique cultural center with its museums, historical buildings and monuments, amazing cathedrals, unique paintings, frescos and sculptures, local culture and food. All these arts remind us of the glorious past from which we come and give us the strength to go on renewing.