A cultural and artistic heritage asset constituted by 4,500 sites that attract over one hundred million visitors every year, and among which Tuscany stands out for its primacy, both in terms of offer and demand. For the first time, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and the National Statistics Institute (ISTAT) surveyed the Italian cultural industry on the basis of three assets: nearly 4,000 museums, galleries and collections that comprehensively attracted, in 2011, 54 million visitors; 240 archeological sites and areas with a basin of 10 million visitors; 500 monuments visited by 40 million tourist. The cultural offerings that these structures – nearly 3,000 of which are public and rest private – offer is quite broad and well balanced: there is a prevalence of ethnographic and anthropologic content and of archeological museums, but generally speaking, the goods surveyed were equally distributed between antique art, history, sacred art, and modern-contemporary art.

Within this context, the richness of the Tuscan assets emerges. With 550 sites – 450 museums, nearly 20 archeological sites and 80 monument complexes – it is the region with the highest density of cultural and artistic goods, with two out of three municipalities hosting a structure, and collects nearly 23 million visitors every year, with an average of 40 million annual tourists per site (the Lazio region shines in this category). If the Uffizi Gallery and the Vasari Corridor are amongst the most attractive sites in Italy, and the Tuscan offer also concentrates around other internationally known locations – beyond Florence’s extremely broad offer, Pisa’ Square of Miracles and the Siena sites with the museum circuit and the Cathedral – the regional offer is nonetheless dense with other sites that attract numerous visitors: according to a study by Regione Toscana 2011, they exceed 100,000 annual entrances, among them the Museum of Sacred Art in San Gemignao, Prato’s Center for Contemporary Art, the “Monteriggioni in Arme”, the Pinocchio monument park. Therefore, it is not just large centers and compounds and, indeed, one of the other factors in which the Tuscan system stands out (alongside Friuli Venezia Giulia, Umbria, and Emilia Romagna) is the network organization and the integration of resources: in fact, 62% of the sites belong to an organized museum system that enables the creation of synergies with other assets throughout the territory.

At the national level, states ISTAT, cultural tourism is polarized around the major attractions: the 15 structures that register at least one million visitors per year – and that, beyond the Florentine museums, include the Duke’s Palace in Venice, the Sforza Castle in Milan, the excavations at Pompei, and the Colosseum and Imperial Forum in Rome – include one third of all visitors and, more importantly, attract 70% of foreign cultural tourism. These are the structures that are also best equipped in terms of available personnel, of services offered, and of restoration and conservation of the items on exposition.