Thanks to those who answered: you’ve given us some good paths to follow so that we can help you gain more in-depth insight into Tuscany and Tuscan Culture.
First, probably the most important thing you need to know before coming to Tuscany is where Tuscany is located, how far is it from where you live, and which towns, cities and areas make up this Region.
Italy is composed of 20 regions, Tuscany is one of them. Tuscany is limited on the west coast by the Tyrrhenian sea (with its beautiful Archipelago). Its land borders, starting from the north and clockwise are: Liguria (cinque terre is not in Tuscany), Emilia Romagna, Marche, Umbria and Lazio.
Sometimes we hear people say they’re not sure if they were in Tuscany or not; here’s a trick. Tuscany is made up of ten provinces: Florence, Arezzo, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa and Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena. Any town you’ll be in will be listed essentially under one of these provinces which are the political sub-divisions of the Region of Tuscany and you can see them in this map.
In Italian the word for Tuscany is Toscana [pronounced tosˈkaːna] and its regional capital is Florence.
The whole area of this region is 22,990 square kilometres (8,880 sq mi) and the population is of about 3,7 million inhabitants. Tuscan inhabitants are called Toscani, pronounced [tosˈkaːni]. The most populated prinvinces are Florence, Pisa and Prato.
Starting from the 1980s, Tuscany attracted an intense flux of immigrants, in particular from China (especially in Prato).
But, as you probably know, the beauty and good quality of life also attracted a significant community of British and American residents.
As of 2008, the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 275,149 foreign-born immigrants live in Tuscany, equal to 7% of the total regional population (source wikipedia).
To give you an idea of where Tuscany is, here is a list of the distances from other cities to Florence: 300 km south of Milan and 280 north of Rome.
From London to Florence the distance is 1600 Km, from New York to Florence it is 6692.80 Km and from Melbourne to Florence, 16103.08 Km.
The easiest way to reach Tuscany by plane is through the Florence international Airport or the Pisa international airport (this second one is more known for the low cost flights of many air companies). Florence, because of its position, also has fast and efficient rail and motorway connections making it easy to reach the rest of the country.
You can also reach Tuscany by boat to the main Tuscan maritime Port of Leghorn. Ferries run from Leghorn/Livorno to Olbia (Sardinia), Genoa (Liguria), and Barcelona (Spain).
Other companies’ routes include Piombino-Portoferraio (Elba), Genoa-Bastia (Corsica), Piombino-Bastia, and Bonifacio (Corsica)-S. Teresa di Gallura (Sardinia).
I hope this information will clarify some of your questions about Tuscany. In the meantime, while you’re planning your trip to Tuscany, here are some shots to keep you dreaming until you finally get here !