Tuscany is located in the western part of peninsular Italy, north of Rome and south of Genoa. It is bounded by the Apennines to the north and east and by the Mediterranean to the west. Its major cities are Florence, Pisa, Sienna, Lucca, Arezzo, and Pistoia. Its major river is the Arno, on which Florence and Pisa are located. The Region of Tuscany includes the provinces of Arezzo, Florence (Firenze), Grosseto, Leghorn (Livorno), Massa and Carrara, Pisa, and Sienna (Siena) and has an area of 9304 sq. miles. The history of Tuscany and Tuscan culture have played a role in Western civilisation of importance far out of proportion to the tiny size of Tuscany and its cities.
Etruscan, Roman and Mediaeval Tuscany
In the sixth and fifth centuries B.C.,
were the dominant power in northern and central Italy, and brought Latium and Rome under their supremacy. Towards the end of the sixth century B.C., Rome
gained its independence and from the second half of the fifth century it began a struggle for
supremacy with the Etruscans and other italic tribes. There were many changes of fortune during the long war, but it ended about 280 B.C. with the overthrow of Etruria. During the
period of the Roman Empire, Etruria formed the seventh region of Italy.
The ascendancy of Florence and the Medici
During the struggle between the popes and the
emperors, and in the period following the fall of the Hohenstaufens when the throne was vacant, Florence,
Sienna, Pisa, Lucca, Arezzo and other Tuscan cities attained constantly increasing independence and autonomy. They
also acquired control of Matilda's patrimony, so far as it was situated in Tuscany.
Tuscany :: Austrian rule
In accordance with the Treaty of Vienna of 1735 Francis, Duke of Lorraine, who had married Maria Theresa in 1736, became grand duke (1737-65) instead of the Spanish Bourbons. Franz Joseph garrisoned the country with Austrian troops and transferred its administration to imperial councillors. As Tuscany now became an Austrian territory, belonging as inheritance to the second son, Tuscany was more or less dependent upon Vienna. However, the country once more greatly advanced in economic prosperity, especially during the reign of Leopold I (1765-90), who, like his brother the Emperor Joseph I, was full of zeal for reform, but who went about it more slowly and cautiously. In 1782, Leopold suppressed the Inquisition, reduced the possessions of the Church, suppressed numerous monasteries, and interfered in purely internal ecclesiastical matters for the benefit of the Jansenists. After his election as emperor, he was succeeded in 1790 by his second son, Ferdinand III, who ruled as his father had done. During the French Revolution, Ferdinand lost his duchy in 1789 and 1800. It was given to Duke Louis of Parma on 1 October, under the name of the Kingdom of Etruria. In 1807, Tuscany was united directly with the French Empire, and Napoleon made his sister Eliza Bacciocchi its administrator with the title of grand duchess. After Napoleon's overthrow, the Congress of Vienna gave Tuscany again to Ferdinand and added to it Elba, Piombino, and the Stato degli Presidi. A number of the monasteries suppressed by the French were re-established by the Concordat of 1815 but otherwise the government was influenced by the principles of Josephinism in its relations with the Catholic Church. When the efforts of the Italian secret societies for the formation of a united national state spread to Tuscany, Ferdinand formed a closer union with Austria, and the Tuscan troops were placed under Austrian officers as preparation for the breaking-out of war. The administration of his son Leopold II (1824-60) was long considered the most liberal in Italy, although he reigned as an absolute sovereign. The Concordat of 1850 also gave the Church greater liberty. Notwithstanding the economic and intellectual growth which Tuscany enjoyed, the intrigues of the secret societies found the country fruitful soil, for the rulers were always regarded as foreigners and the connection they formed with Austria made them unpopular.
Tuscany :: Revolution and unification
In 1847, a state council was established. On 15 Feb., 1848, a constitution was issued, and on 26 June was opened. Notwithstanding this, the sedition against the dynasty increased and in August there were street fights at Leghorn in which the troops proved untrustworthy. Although Leopold had called a democratic ministry in October, with Guerrazzi and Montanelli at its head, and had taken part in the Piedmontese war against Austria, yet the Republicans forced him to flee Tuscany and go to Gaeta in Feb., 1849. A provisional republican government was established at Florence. Before long this was forced to give way to an opposing movement of moderated Liberalism. After this, by the aid of Austria, Leopold was able, in July 1849, to return. In 1852 he suppressed the constitution issued in 1848 and governed as an absolute ruler, although with caution and moderation. However, the suppression of the constitution and the fact that up to 1855 an Austrian army of occupation remained in Tuscany made him greatly disliked. When in 1859 war was begun between Sardinia-Piedmont and Austria, and Leopold became the confederate of Austria, a fresh revolution broke out which forced him to leave. For the period of the war Victor Emmanuel occupied the country. After the Peace of Villa Franca had restored Tuscany to Leopold, the latter abdicated in favour of his son Ferdinand IV. On 16 Aug., 1859, a national assembly declared the deposition of the dynasty, and a second assembly (12 March, 1860) voted for annexation to Piedmont, officially proclaimed on 22 March. Since then Tuscany has been a part of the Kingdom of Italy, whose capital was Florence from 1865 to 1871.
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