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The Routes of Entry

An uninterrupted passage

Carta della Toscana di Antonio Giachi, 1763

Although Tuscany’s central position on the Tour was not established until the 19th century, before which time people’s view of the place has been characterized by a lack of enthusiasm and “dominated by gloomy tints” (Mascilli Migliorini, 1995), the reasons for passing through the region had always been there. While the final destinations (with Rome supreme) lay beyond, Tuscany would never be excluded from the itineraries or marginalized. On the contrary its role grew in importance and extent, thanks in part to the new attention paid to centers hitherto considered of minor interest. There were even isolated cases of absolute fascination with the place, such as the Englishman Tobias Smollett who settled in Livorno and died there in 1771, or the German Georg Cristoph Martini who spent almost twenty years in Lucca, from 1727 until his death in 1745. But even if the journey continued to the south, the cities of Tuscany, so steeped in art and history, earned a place among the canonical stages of the Tour that they were never to lose again.

Even from a geographical point of view, transit through the region, bounded to the west by the sea and to the east by the Apennines, was more or less unavoidable: the main communication routes ran through it and the one along the Adriatic coast from Bologna to Rome – which travelers preferred to take on their way back – was on the whole less well-trodden (Tongiorgi, 1990).

Different means of access

Viaggio da Ponte Centino a Pienza in una carta settecentesca

There were several possible routes of entry to the region, depending on the city from which the traveler approached it. Among the various options, some were statistically more frequently used: the first of these went directly to Florence and from there proceeded to the cities on the coast, subsequently leaving the region either through Siena and the Via Francigena or along a route that led through Arezzo and Perugia; the second did not go directly to Florence but, depending on circumstances, passed through Livorno or Lucca or Pisa before reaching the capital. In this case too, however, we should be on our guard against generalizations: there could be many reasons for variations in the itinerary, not least a curiosity about alternative centers, at first viewed as rarities and then transformed into common destinations. These included Pienza, Volterra and the Maremma.


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