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Overview of the Region
Tuscany is located in central Italy occupying an area of approximately (8,900 sq miles) with more than 3.9 million people and a density of 160 km2 420 square miles. The capital of Tuscany is Florence. About 90% of the people are Italians (Comuni-Italiani, 2018). The climate of the region is usually mild along the coast area and gets harsh and rainy when moving inwards. The temperatures considerably fluctuate between summer and winter an aspect that enhances soil fertility through the alternate freeze-thaw cycle. This characteristic enhances the production of food grains especially wheat and thus why the region served as the breadbasket during ancient Rome.
Proximity to Major Population Centers
Tuscany borders major cities. Liguria is on the Northwest of Tuscany, Marche on the Northeast, Lazio on Southeast, and Emilia-Romagna on the North while Umbria is on the East (Comuni-Italiani, 2018). Emilia-Romagna has a population of 4.4 million people. The population of Liguria was declining from 1971 to 2001. The population also showed a decline from 1,617,000 in 2011 to 1,565,307 in 2017, and the trend of decrease might continue.
The region has more than 120 protected nature sites. It is ranked as number 89 of the tourist attraction in the world with more than 1.8 million tourists annually (Bremner & Grant, 2014). There are several natural attraction sites in Tuscany. The region is hilly with one-third of the area being hilly. The hills cover 5,904 square miles (66.5 percent). There are some mountains mainly the Apennines covering 25 percent. The plains only cover only 8.4% that occurs primarily surrounding the valley of Arno. Most of the cities are located at the banks of Arno. Tuscany borders Thyrrenean Sea which has 7 Islands that forms part of Tuscan Archipelago National Park (Comuni-Italiani, 2018).
Wineries and Wine Produced
The climate in Tuscany makes it one of the best regions to grow wine producing materials. Tuscany is one of the most preferred wine destinations in the world with about 11 DOGG wines among 70 wines produced in Italy. The region also has 33 DOC wines. These wines are primarily made using Sangiovese and Vernaccia grapes. Other varieties of grapes are also used especially in the manufacture of wine Vin Santo. The European wine industry is highly regulated and wines must meet all standards put by the government before being licensed. During the 1970s, a new type of wine called Super Tuscans was developed; however, it was not made under DOC/DOCG regulations, but it was considered a high value wine that commanded a high price in the market (Corrado & Odorici, 2009). Most of these types of wines eventually became cult wines. In the reforms to classify wines in Italy, most of the super wines now qualify under DOC/DOCG wine classification. Some producers still prefer the old system of Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) which has five categories of classification (Corrado, R & Odorici, 2009). The main regions that produce wines in Tuscany are Nobile di Montepulciano, Bolgheri, Brunello di Montalcino, Carmignano, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Vino, and Chianti. There are about 219 wine tasting and winery tours in Tuscany (Viator, 2018)
Seaside tourism in the region accounts for 40% of all tourists' arrival. The main attraction site is Castiglione Della Pescaia's sea region. The region has been voted many times by Legambiente organization as the best tourist destination (Legambiente, 2015). Legambiente is an NGO environmentalist association in Italy. Castiglione is placed as the forth visited seaside in Italy with about 1.3 million visitors annually. Other famous seaside regions in Tuscany include Grosseto which is the second most preferred region after Castiglione, Orbetello which ranked third, Giglio Island, Elba, Viareggio and Monte Argentario (Legambiente, 2015).
Culture and the arts
Tuscany is rich in cultural and artistic aspects. The region houses Florence which one of the world most popular water-color centers. The place is popular to a point of being nicknamed as "art place of Italy" (Miner, 2008). There are other artistic regions including Siena and some villages in various areas such as San Gimignano. Florence is believed to be the region with the biggest cluster of renaissance art and architecture in the entire globe. Pioneers of painting in Italy including Cimabue and Giotto were from Tuscany (Miner, 2008). Arnolfo and Andrea Pisano who were specialists in architecture and sculpturing also came from this region. There are several art schools in Tuscany some of which were established as early as in 14th century. Currently, the region has more than 50 artistic schools (Italian Schools, 2018).
Tuscany has several world-class heritages sites. The region has seven established heritage sites recognized by the UNESCO as historical heritage. These regions are Florence, historic center (1982) which boasts of several ancient architectures and artistic works, Pisa, Piazza del Duomo (1987) marked by famous cathedrals, baptistery and monumental cemetery. Other heritage sites include San Gimignano historic centre (1990) which is known for the fourteen towers and its ideal architecture , Siena historic centre (1995) known for Palio narroe paths which are decorated with mosaic floor, Pienza historic centre (1996), Medici Villas and Val d'Orcia (2004) pleasure Gardens (2013) (UNESCO, 2018). All these regions boost historical aspects dating 1800s and beyond.
Tuscany has around 7735 accommodation facilities that house hundreds of the tourists who visit the region. Available hotels range from one star to four-star hotels to one-star, serviced apartments, hostels, and bed and breakfast accommodations. The facilities offer various incentives to outdo competitors. These incentives come in the form of room services, free wife and well developed online platform to allow booking from any region of the world (Trivago, 2018). The varying range of the accommodation facilities gives customers a wide variety to choose from depending on the charges as well as taste and preferences.
Primary food production and food service
Italy has for long used food as a uniting factor in the country under the aspects of availability of simple, fresh and delicious foods made from simple ingredients. Typical Italian foods are found in Tuscany. When considering Tuscany food, the thought of olive oil, fresh vegetables and pasta come into mind. These ingredients are the basis of some food including Mediterranean diets, stemmed ancient Etruscan and other foods from Roman and Greek cultures. Other foods in the region considered staple are tomatoes, potatoes, and bell pepper. Other foods in the area are legumes, cheese, and fruits. Flavored foods are usually prepared including breed among other wheat food products. Tuscan meat is also common from a special bread of cattle from Chianina (Loring, 2018).
Sports and adventure activities
Tuscany has several sporting and adventure activities. Common sports in the region include tennis, golf, bike riding, horse riding and running especially running in the wild. Less intensive and slow sports include hiking and mountain climbing especially Alps peaks, riding in the hot air balloon and fishing trips. Winter and marine games are also typical. They include sailing, diving, surfing and kayaking and windsurfing (Rogers, 2016). All these features are major recreation activities for leisure and relaxation.
There are other factors unique to Tuscany such as the fashion industry. Textile industry located in Florentine was established in the 15th century. Florentine started with wool and silk. Currently, some of the renowned designers use textile from Florentine. Several fashion designs outlets are located in Tuscany leading to fashion tourism. The political stability of Tuscany also creates a conducive atmosphere for a tourist destination. The region also has ideal transport infrastructure. Tuscany has two international airports, railway network, and well-developed road network.
Categorizing the region
Tuscany can be classified a growing wine region. It is characterized by proximity to several major cities surrounding the area. Attraction sites also characterize the region. Tuscany has more than 120 protected nature sites. It is ranked as number 89 of the tourist attraction and the boosts of about 108 million tourists per year. The Seven heritage aspects in the region are all historical. Winery aspects are well developed in the region and continue to grow. There are a 219 wine tasting events and a region that has several wine-producing industries that are regulated under several European policies. Several wine brands are found in the region making Tuscany a wine region. Some of the wine raw materials are grown locally.
Bremner, C & Grant, M. (2014). Historical & Heritage Tours in Tuscany. Trip advisor. Retrieved on 22nd October 2018 from https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g187893-Activities-c42-t228-Tuscany.html
Comuni-Italiani. (2018). Tuscany Region. Retrieved on 22nd October 2018 from http://en.comuni-italiani.it/09/
Corrado, R & Odorici, V. (2009). Winemakers and Wineries in the Evolution of the Italian Wine Industry: 1997-2006. Journal of Wine Research, 20 (2), 111-124.
Italian Schools. (2018). Italian Art Schools in Tuscany. Retrieved on 22nd October 2018 from http://www.it-schools.com/sections/italian-art-schools-in-italy/tuscanya/index.shtml
Legambiente. (2015). Legambiente and Touring Club Italiano present: The most beautiful Sea 2015 Blue Guide. Legambiente. Retrieved on 22nd October 2018 from https://www.legambiente.it/contenuti/comunicati/legambiente-e-touring-club-italiano-presentano-il-mare-piu-bello-la-guida-blu-2
Loring, L. (2018). A Culinary Journey in Tuscany. Discover Tuscany. Retrieved on 22nd October 2018 from https://www.discovertuscany.com/eating-and-drinking-in-tuscany/a-tuscan-meal.html
Miner, Jennifer. (2008). Florence Art Tours, Florence Museums, Florence Architecture. Travel guide affordable tours. Retrieved on 22nd October 2018 from https://web.archive.org/web/20100129061226/http://travelguide.affordabletours.com/search/Article/guide/19
Rogers, B. (2016). Top 10 awesome adventures in Tuscany. Adventure in You. Retrieved on 22nd October 2018 from https://www.adventureinyou.com/italy/top-10-awesome-adventures-in-tuscany/
Trivago. (2018). Tuscany. Retrieved from https://www.trivago.com/
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (2018). World Heritage List. Retrieved on 22nd October 2018 from https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/
Viator. (2018). Top Tuscany Wine Tasting & Winery Tours. Retrieved on 22nd October 2018 from https://www.viator.com/Tuscany-tours/Wine-Tasting-and-Winery-Tours/d206-g6-c21
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