Every day, my personal list of places that I have to visit before I die grows bigger. There are obvious choices, like London, New York, Tokyo or basically any other major city that's known to be a must-see for any traveling enthusiast. Then you move on to places that can offer you more than a sightseeing experience, like the exotic shores of Bora Bora (if your wallet allows it) or an epic safari in the wilderness of Africa (if your heart rate allows it). And by the time you know it, you realize that you already have three pages worth of traveling destinations, and tell yourself: “enough.” But then, you stumble upon some article that describes in vivid detail the beauty of some unknown village on an abandoned island next to Iceland, and it comes with pictures too! Or, in my case, you find a gallery that showcases the beauty of Tuscany, perhaps a lesser hyped destination in Italy compared to famous places like Rome, or Venice if you take away the fame of Florence. But let me tell you, Tuscany is just as worthy of being on that list just like any other destination and here are 9 Interesting Facts About Tuscany to tell you why.
1. Birthplace Of Italian
Anyone who possesses some basic knowledge on the ethno genesis of European languages knows that Italian was founded on the premises of Latin. After all, if not the descendants of Romans, then who? However, even though the language itself was shaped by Latin, the Italian we hear being spoken today is actually created around the dialect spoken in Tuscany. How many regions can claim they have the honor of having such a widely liked dialect, that the entire country agreed to adopt it?
2. Pinocchio Is From Tuscany
Like most stories, Disney wasn't the first to tell the story of the famous marionette Pinocchio. The original tale was crafted by Italian author Carlo Collodi, who was born in the Florence of the year 1826 and lived his whole life in Tuscany, which was, back then, under Austrian control. The story was then picked up by Disney over a century later, and turned into the 1940 adaption we know all too well today.
3. First Region To Adopt Pavements
If there is one thing that's vastly known, is that Florence has always been an epitome of elegance of beauty. This is all thanks to the rich banks and the flowering merchandise business of the Renaissance era, which made Tuscany a region financially potent to bring out the best of itself. Curtsy to this, in 1339, it adopted the initiative to pave all the roads in Tuscany, something that revolutionized the world, as we can attest over seven centuries later.
4. The Leaning Tower Of Pisa
The legendary tower of Pisa has become a trademark for Italy in general. But do you know how it came to assess its infamous, skewed position? Ironically enough, the word “pisa” originates from Greek and it means “marsh land,” which seems to have been a grim prediction of the Italian architects' choice to build a 15,000 tonnes weighting tower on unstable marsh land. What's more, this isn't the only tower of sorts in Tuscany: the church of Saint Nicola and the bell tower of the church of Saint Michele dei Scalzi also share the iconic leaned position of the Pisa tower.
5. UNESCO Heritage Sites
Tuscany is undoubtedly a must see for anyone who would like to be taken on a cultural trip among the history filled walls and roads of the region. There are more UNESCO Heritage Sites in Tuscany than in places like South Africa, Argentina or Australia, with the biggest density being found in Florence, Siena and Pienza. But it's not just buildings other architectural masterpieces that bear the seal of the UNESCO Heritage Site; many of the landscapes in Tuscany are considered of great value too, since they've inspired many of the greatest Renaissance painters.
6. The Marble Arch Is Tuscan
Perhaps you're familiar with the Marble Arch, the huge construction that was built on the corners of Park Lane and Oxford Street in London. Well, the material used for its construction is actually marble that was exported from Tuscany. Back then, Italy could afford sparing some of its Tuscan marble, since it was a commonly and widely used resource by many Renaissance artists. The best example is Michelangelo's famous David, which is today exhibited at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence.
7. The Birth Of Opera And Musicals
The biggest accomplishment that can be awarded to Tuscany, is undoubtedly the colossal impact it had in the cultural world. Around the middle of the 16th century, and the Renaissance Era, a group of Tuscan poets, musicians and intellectuals known as Florentine Camerata joined forces to intertwine Green myths with music, and put them on stage. This movement eventually led to the apparition of the first operas, which in turn were the foundation for the development of classical forms as music, such as the symphony.
8. Tuscany Has A Ski Resort
This might come off as quite surprising, especially given the fact that Italy often loses to neighbors such as Switzerland and Austria when it comes to mountainside tourism. However, Tuscany has more to offer than rolling hills and green, lush flora. Mount Amiata is a popular destination for those who are looking for an escapism in the heart of the mountains, whether it's for skying or for plain relaxation purposes.
9. Legendary Artwork
For our final bullet point, we have to give credit where credit's due, even though said credit has been given numerous of times. Tuscany is the host of some of the post valuable artworks in the world, and it can pride itself for being the birth place of some of the biggest names in the Renaissance. For example, Botticelli's famous “The Birth of Venus” painting is displayed at the Uffizi Gallery and Michelangelo's David is exhibited for the world to see in Florence. What's even cooler is than many Tuscan cities and towns are works of art by themselves, being the hosts of many amazing churches, cathedrals and buildings rich in history and culture.
Long story short, Tuscany is amazing. And Florence shouldn't be the only reason why you'd want to visit it. Although definitely its strongest point, the region in itself is full of gorgeous landscapes and perhaps lesser known towns and cities that are worth a sightseeing escapade, thanks to these 9 Interesting Facts About Tuscany.