What is Tuscan Architecture?

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Florine Tanner
On 4 min read

Tuscan-style architecture is typically constructed from limestone, travertine or marble, and terracotta roofing tiles. It combines classical architectural elements with modern touches to give homes a feeling of Old World Europe. The ability to blend seamlessly into the natural environment is a key characteristic of Tuscan-style homes.

This style was popular in the region now called Tuscany. It is a region of Italy that is well-known for its beautiful and romantic landscapes as well as its agricultural contributions. While Tuscan architecture has seen some changes over the years, many of the traditional architectural techniques and decorating styles have remained unchanged.

The History of Tuscan Architecture

The Etruscans were an agricultural community that worked hard long before Tuscany was world-famous for its olives and wine. The Etruscans ruled central Italy long before the Romans came to power. They built a flourishing civilisation and developed their own architectural style. The Roman Empire seized control of the area, but Etruscan elements remained in demand.

The belief is that the Etruscans were inspired by Grecian architecture. However, there is a key difference. While Greek buildings were built entirely out of stone, Etruscans constructed wooden structures. Why? They used wood to build their temples, and this tradition was also carried into their homes.

The building materials in an area can influence the architectural style. This is true for Tuscan style as well. The wood-framed houses were typically constructed of limestone, travertine or sandstone with marble carvings, accents, roof tiles and floor tiles. They also had stucco walls and a stucco wall.

The romantic Tuscan-style homes that we see today were built by the Etruscans. They also created a traditional column design and style for architecture. These columns, also known as the Tuscan Order or the Tuscan Column, are very simple in design, unlike the intricately designed Corinthian, Ionic, Doric and Ionic columns. Tuscan columns come in a variety of bases: square or round, with capitals, shafts and bases that are unadorned. They are also more wide and spaced further apart than the three other classic styles of column.

Essential Design Elements

While some elements of Tuscan architecture have been modernized, many homes today retain the original architectural elements as well as decorative features from old Tuscan homes. These key elements include:

Exterior Features

Exposed walls of thick stone: Travertine, limestone, sandstone and travertine are all common exterior materials for Tuscan homes. This allows the home to blend in with the natural environment. Caved marble is often used to accent doors, windows, and archways.

Terracotta floor tiles and roof: Terracotta is an extremely popular building material in warmer climates. It’s easy to make by baking natural, clay terracotta clay. Terracotta roofs and floor tiles are often seen in Tuscan-style homes. This is because it connects the home to its surroundings.

Air flow is a necessity in Tuscany’s warmer climate. Many Tuscan homes have outdoor living spaces such as patios, porticos or loggias.

Wrought iron decorative elements: Romantic wrought-iron gates and doors can often be seen on Tuscan-style houses. Wrought iron wall hangings and decorative accents are great for adding texture and warmth to your outdoor space.

Interior Features

Plaster and stucco walls are two other building materials that are often easily available. It is traditionally made of lime, sand and water. White stucco walls, which can keep cool air in the day and let out warmth at night, are great for warmer climates. It’s common to see interior walls painted in Tuscan style.

Textured ceilings: Paneled or vaulted ceilings with exposed beams bring warmth, texture and natural elements into the interiors of Tuscan houses. Traditionally, wooden interior beams were salvaged from barns or old Tuscan farmhouses.

Mosaic flooring is: Terracotta tiles are the most common type of flooring in Tuscan homes, but glass and stone tiles can also be used to make mosaic art. For added warmth, many Tuscan homeowners have switched to hardwood floors from terracotta tiles.

Tuscan architecture has been a popular style for centuries and is still very much in demand today, especially in warmer states like California and Florida.

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