Florence was once the Italian capital city
Tuscany takes its name from the Etruscan people who first inhabited the region around 3000 years ago. By 800 BC, several Etruscan city states had been created, including Fiesole, Arezzo and Volterra, and by the 6th century B.C, the Etruscans dominated northern and central Italy.
Following the rise of Rome, the Etruscans were defeated by the Romans around 280 BC, and Etruria became part of the Roman Empire. Rome established the cities of Lucca, Pisa, Siena, and Florence, extended the road system, introduced aqueducts and sewers, and funded many grand public and private buildings.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the region became a part of the Frankish Empire during the reign of Charlemagne. Matilda, the last Frankish ruler, bequeathed her lands to the papacy, an act which provoked years of conflict between popes and emperors. Pisa, Lucca, Siena and Florence became successful republics, and flourishing centres of trade, industry and the arts.
In the 2nd half of the 14th C, a banking crash followed by widespread plague decimated the population and destroyed the economies of Siena and San Gimignano. By the end of this century the Medici, Florence’s powerful banking family, began their rise to prominence, and in 1406, Florence conquered Pisa and gained a vital sea port in the process.
The Medici became the ruling family of Florence and when the Pope made Cosimo Grand Duke of Tuscany, the Medici acquired the entire Tuscan territory. Florence became one of the most important banking and trading cities in Europe. The city was regarded as the intellectual heart of the Renaissance, witnessing an extraordinary blossoming of art, literature and scientific learning under the patronage of the Medici wealth.
After the extinction of the Medici line, Tuscany passed into Austrian rule in 1737, and was then annexed by Napoleonic France in 1807. In 1860, Tuscany became part of modern Italy and Florence became the Italian capital in 1865, superseded by Rome six years later, in 1871.
Tuscany has been inhabited for 3000 years