9 Interesting Facts About Tuscany

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

Interesting Facts About Tuscany - Italian's Origin

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

Pinocchio Is Tuscan - Interesting Facts About 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

Interesting Facts About Tuscany - Paved Roads

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

Interesting Facts About Tuscany Include The Existence Of Other Towers Like Pisa's

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

UNESCO Heritage Sites Compose Interesting Facts About Tuscany

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

The Marble Arch's Origins Make Up Some Interesting Facts About Tuscany

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

Opera's Origins - Interesting Facts About Tuscany

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

Interesting Facts About Tuscany - 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

Tuscany's Culturally Famous Artworks Are Some Better Known Interesting Facts About Tuscany

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.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Things You Didn’t Know About Pizza

We all love it in one way or another. Whether it comes from a supermarket, from the fast food on the corner or from a fancy restaurant, it’s always delicious. Ever wondered how the first chefs came upon the combination of bread, melted cheese and sauce? In its incipient days, pizza was only a slice of flatbread topped with herbs. The first documented use of the name dates back from 997 AD in Gaeta, Italy. By the 1700s, pizza had become a specialty in Naples, particularly in the poor areas. Two main variety emerged in Italy: pizza “marinara” which was topped with oregano, olive oil and garlic and pizza “Margherita” which was topped with sauce, mozzarella and olive oil. Nowadays, pizza stands for the ubiquitous food on the planet. You can find it everywhere, wearing the specific country’s signature. Chicago went even further and created the deep dish pizza. I’d be curious to find out how Italians feel about that. Eager to learn more? Check out theses things you didn’t know about pizza.

1. Neapolitan Pizzas are verified by an organization

Things You Didn't Know About Pizza

Dating back from 1984, the organization’s name is “True Neapolitan Pizza Association”. If you aspire to call your product authentic Neapolitan, it has to meet several criteria. First of all, it should be baked in a dome oven that has a wood fire. Secondly, you’re not allowed to use any utensils to make the pizza. Thirdly, your Neapolitan pizza should have a diameter of maximum 35 centimeters and it shouldn’t be thicker than one third of a centimeter. No pressure, Neapolitan pizza makers of the world.

2. We don’t know anything about the word’s origins

Things You Didn't Know About Pizza

Nobody knows where the word “pizza” came from. However, there are some theories that point to the Italian word “pizzicare” which would translate through “pluck quickly from the oven”. There’s also the Old High German word “pizzo” which means “mouthful” and which was brought to Italians by the Lombards back in the sixth century. Another influence could have been given by the Ancient Greek word “pikte” meaning “fermented pastry” as well as “pitta” which stands for “bran bread”.

3. Tomatoes didn’t use to be mandatory

Things You Didn't Know About Pizza

Nowadays you’d probably send your pizza back to the kitchen if it didn’t have tomatoes. But tomatoes were brought from the New World late in the 1500s, when pizza was already a big thing. So we can safely assume it used to be consumed without tomatoes. Later, someone had the brilliant idea to add tomato cubes to pizza and everybody loved it. We can only hope the genius behind the development was somehow rewarded.

4. The outer edge is called the cornicione

Things You Didn't Know About Pizza

Now you know how to impress your friends next time you all go out to Pizza Hut. You’ll probably be the only one at the table knowing that the “bones” your friends left on their plates are actually called “cornicione”. Unlike the crust, which is the base that is topped with everything else, the “cornicione” stands for the cornice.

5. No pizza slices for the Italians

Things You Didn't Know About Pizza

Yes, you’ve read that right. There are actually no round pizzas in Italy. Italians serve pizza whole or they cut it into rectangles straight from a large tray. This is called “pizza al taglio”. Americans didn’t like the square shape and decided to put their own spin on it. So they invented the round pizza. The large pizzas used to be sold on the streets of New York for five cents. But not everyone could afford a whole one. So the sellers adjusted to the clientele and cut up their pies into wedges. And this is how the New York slice came into the world.

Image sources 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Souvenirs And Their Real Life Counterparts

Tourists are famous for taking same odd poses in front of some of the world’s most popular sites and monuments, and it seems like there’s no end to it. For instance, countless people taken turns pretending to support the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Sure, it was fun the first 20 times, but at what point does high-fiving the Statue of Liberty lose it’s novelty?

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Indepensense – Surreal Body Part Montages

From time to time we here at This Blog Rules like to get a little surrealistic. Don’t you? You may remember our post about Josh Sommers’ insane photo montages, the contents of which I think we can all agree were very insane indeed. Now Italian artist Giuseppe Mastromatteo has taken surrealism to a whole new level in his project called “Indepensense”.

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Amazing 3D Graffiti

There is a lot of fancy and impressive graffiti art out there, so much that you can’t separate them anymore, but have you ever seen a 3D graffiti before? Italian street artist called Peeta has been decorating street walls since 1993, so lack of skills is obviously not an issue here. Now he is hand painting three dimensional graffiti art both indoor and outdoor.

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