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The Toscana Region of Italy

Highlights:

 

Toscana is famous for its unique art treasures and cultural monuments, its style and high fashion, its mediaeval castles, cities and towns, its festivals and its exceptional wine. It also has magnificent beaches and magical

islands to visit. Of course, one of the greatest and most beautiful cities in

the world is located in Toscana - Florence - the magnificent Renaissance

city will be described under major cities.

 

Located in central Italy, Toscana includes some of the main cultural, artistic and environmental destinations in Italy .
The region is characterized by mountains in the East and North, among

them the Alpi Apuane, renowned for its rich white marble, and wide hilly areas throughout the central part, covered with olive trees, vineyards and sunflowers, as well as the Apennines, known as the foothills of the Alps.

The areas along the coast, Versilia and Maremma, once unhealthy and marshy, were reclaimed in the early 20th century and offer now landscapes of great natural beauty. The very large plain called Valdarno, going from Florence to the mouth of the Arno river, is one of the most attractive art areas of Italy.

 

The ten provinces of Toscana include: Arezzo (AR), Firenze (FI), Grosseto (GR), Livorno (LI), Lucca (LU), Massa-Carrara (MS), Pisa (PI), Pistoia (PT), Prato (PO), Siena (SI)

 

Massa Carrara

The northernmost among Tuscan provinces, the Province of Massa Carrara is named after the two main towns in its territory, Massa and Carrara. Massa is the capital city. The short coastline of beaches includes the municipalities of Montignoso, Massa Carrara and Versilia. The province is mainly mountainous and hilly and is typical of the Apuan Alps, where the famous Carrara marble is mined. The province is divided into two zones: the Apuan Riviera and the Lunigiana. Its economy was once mainly based on the production of the white Carrara marble, and has now shifted to the importation and fabrication of blocks of marble and granite.

 

This type of marble was used by Michelangelo himself, many times going himself to Carrara's quarries to personally select the raw material from which to carve out his masterpieces.

 

Marina di Massa

 

 

The beaches of Massa Carrara are unique because of their magnificent backdrop - the Alpi Apuane mountains.

 

Lucca

Lucca is a wonderful medieval town, surrounded entirely by 16th century walls.The inhabitants built these brick walls in the 16th century for defense. Lucca is the only town in Italy entirely circumvented by walls. The massively thick walls were built in the 16th century as a protection. In the 19th century, trees were planted and now the ramparts can be walked or cycled. Bicycles can be rented (bikes are available for rent at about 10 euro per hour at the gates); the top is paved. It's approximately three miles around the oval.. If that doesn't tire you out, climb up the Torre Guinigi - the 130 ft. tower has an ancient oak tree on top!

The defensive walls you see today (a complete kidney-shaped circuit built from 1544 to 1654) are Lucca's fourth and most impressive set and perhaps the best preserved in all Italy. About 40 ft high and 100 ft wide at their base, the ramparts bristled with 126 cannons until the Austrian overlords removed them. The walls of Lucca were never put to the test against an enemy army, though it turned out they made excellent dikes. The walls saved the city of Lucca in 1812 when a massive flood of the Serchio River inundated the valley. Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi was governing Lucca at the time from her villa outside the walls, and when she tried to get into the city for safety, the people didn't want to open the gates for fear of the surging waters. Lest they let their princess -- and, more important, the sister of Europe's emperor drown, however, they hoisted her highness over the walls rather unceremoniously with the help of a crane.The walls around the old town remained intact as the city expanded and modernized, unusual for cities in the region. As the walls lost their military importance, they became a pedestrian promenade which encircled the old town, although they were used for a number of years in the 20th century for racing cars. They are still fully intact today; each of the four principal sides is lined with a different tree species. It is the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini, author of Madame Butterfly and La Boheme. Lucca is a town of style, fashion, history, culture and beauty for the discriminating traveler.

 



The Official Toscana Region Site


The Massa Carrara Site


The city of Lucca



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