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Bill Thayer

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A Gazetteer of Tuscany

A region of central Italy: 22,991 square kilometers. 2003 population: 3,516,000. Capital: Florence.

[image ALT: A large stone church with a tall square tower and a much shorter, squat octagonal tower, overlooking an urban landscape with small pine trees. It is the Duomo, or cathedral, of Massa Marittima, Tuscany (central Italy).]

The cathedral of Massa Marittima towards sunset.

If Italy is not all Tuscany, Tuscany is definitely Italy: amidst olive groves and rolling hills punctuated with cypresses, steepled mediaeval villages, cities of great art and architecture and infusing everything, the light: commented on, painted, photographed, never caught.

Nor have I caught all of Tuscany. Except for a day spent in Florence when I was twenty, footloose and unencumbered by a camera, I've mostly nibbled at the southern, eastern and western edges of the region, happily lost in some rather odd places by normal tourist standards. Here then is what this site has to offer:


[image ALT: A stylized representation of a metal hand-mirror, taken from the binding of a book. It is an Etruscan mirror motif representing that book, George Dennis's 'Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria'.]

[ 107 engravings, 2 plans, 6 maps; 4 photos of my own ]

George Dennis's celebrated work, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria (1848), though only half of it is given over to Tuscany, is a very good book and even today remains one of the best possible general resources for Etruscan monuments in the area; but it's also a fascinating glimpse into the beginnings of modern archaeology — and very useful to anyone with an interest in the remoter areas of the region, as for example if you're planning to cover it on foot, horseback or bicycle.


[image ALT: A distant view of a small village perched on a hill, framed in the foreground by branches of olive trees. It is a view of Castiglion della Pescaia, Tuscany (central Italy).]

[ 8/3/02: 19 pages, 48 photos ]

Grosseto Province: covering the city of Grosseto and a number of small towns in the Maremma Toscana.


[image ALT: A low single-story Romanesque church of irregular courses of small stone masonry with a tile roof pitched at about 30 degrees and a flat panel-type belfry of the kind known as a 'campanile a vela' with two arches under which hang the bells. It sits in a small hollow of grass against a backdrop of tall hills, and we are seeing it from the rear, which forms a typical shell-shaped apse. It is a view of the church of S. Biagio in Pierle, Tuscany (central Italy).]

[ 2/17/07: 12 pages, 34 photos ]

Arezzo Province: the beginning of a site, with some small pages on Arezzo city, Anghiari and Sansepolcro.


[image ALT: A tall grim-looking crenellated multi-story building on a piazza. It is the Palazzo dei Priori in Volterra, Tuscany (central Italy).]

Volterra is for now represented by an Encyclopedia Britannica article.


[image ALT: A single-story, and probably single-room, rectangular brick church of severe aspect, under a canopy of pine trees. It is a view of the church of S. Maria a Fortino in S. Miniato al Tedesco, Tuscany (central Italy).]

[ 2/22/07: 22 churches, 4 pages, 26 photos ]

The province is home to thousands of churches, some of them world-famous. My site can only offer a very slight sampler; mind you, they're not the ones endlessly repeated elsewhere on the Web.


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Site updated: 28 Apr 09