The city of Livorno in Italy has a beautiful harmony of old and modern culture, together with the bustling nature of the port.
Although many people pass through Livorno to get to Pisa, it is a fantastic destination in its own right and has a lot of historical sites and a beautiful coastline.
Livorno is one of the most important cities in Italy and is the capital of the Province of Livorno. Its main source of economy is its huge port and Livorno indeed has the third largest port in the country. Furthermore, its port plays host to a variety of cruise ships that dock and offer their guests a chance to see mainland Italy.
During the Renaissance, Livorno was designed as an “ideal town”. It is still considered the most modern among all the Tuscan cities, and is the third most populous of Tuscany, after Florence and Prato.
The region of Livorno has shown signs of inhabitation since the Neolithic period and due to its coastal location in central Italy, it has always been an important city. During the Renaissance and the rule of the Medici family, Livorno was fortified with many towers, forts and city walls to aid its defence. Many of these defences remain today and you can still see the pentagonal shape of the old historic city which later expanded and you can see the present contours today
Here are some of the best places to visit in Livorno :
This wide and important street runs from the roundabout next to the port, through to the impressive Piazza della Republica.
Down this stretch of road, you will find a series of shops and restaurants, but also several important structures and squares.
At the western end of the Via is the Monumento dei Quattro Mori, whilst in the centre is the Piazza Grande which contains the Cattedrale di San Francesco.
As the centre of the city, the Via Grande is a great starting point for a tour of the city centre.
As a coastal city, it stands to reason that Livorno has several areas of a promenade that offers amazing coastal views. The Terrazza Mascagni is one such place and is a favourite of both locals and tourists.
Located to the south of the main commercial port area, the Terrace juts out into the sea and has a beautiful checkered style paved walkway that curves for some 500 m.
Furthermore, the Aquario de Livorno can be found here, and there is also a series of shaded areas covered by trees and a delightful pavilion. and offers a tiki cafe next to the main entrance.
The Terrazza Mascagni offers the perfect place to watch the sunset and have a leisurely walk in the evening.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the main reasons that people visit Livorno.
Livorno is often used as a gateway to hop onto this famous city and then ultimately Florence.
Whilst Livorno is an amazing tourist destination in its own right, the 25 km drive to Pisa does make for a wonderful day trip.
Coasts of Calafuria
Approximately 40 minutes to the south of Livorno, along the SS1 highway lies the charming coastal town of Calafuria. From downtown, I recommend catching the Lam Blu bus service it is the most scenic way as the route takes you along the coasts, and get down at Miramare’s last stop. From Miramare, the place is about 4 km away.
Calafuria itself doesn’t have a great deal to offer except several campsites and beach resorts; what it does have however is a stretch of stunning coastline that is packed full of delightful rocky alcoves and hidden beaches.
If you park next to the old Torre di Calafuria, you can scramble down onto the rocks and start exploring – the locals often travel from Livorno to relax here and escape the tourists and you can find many people simply sunbathing on the rocks.
The scenery is fantastic, and the rock pools and stretches of coast are simply sublime
More commonly known as the old fort, this fantastic structure was constructed by Antonio da Sangallo for the Medici family during the early 1500s.
Located in the port and harbour region of the city, together with the Fortezza Nuova, this defensive structure has stood proud for hundreds of years as a symbol of the power of the city.
Open to the public, the fort and its grounds can be explored and the battlements and towers offer fantastic views of the port and harbour.
Furthermore, inside the grounds is the small but beautiful church of San Francisco that was added in later years.
Constructed in the mid to late 1500s, the New Fort was an addition to the defences of Livorno and served as a second fortification in conjunction with the old fort.
Featuring a typical pentagonal style with a series of pointed battlements, the fort is an imposing structure that is surrounded on all sides by the canal.
Surrounded by ancient walls, much of the defensive features stand intact such as the gun ports, whilst in the centre of the fort is a beautiful garden and grounds.
Today it is possible to walk through the grounds, explore several of the forts passages, and walk the battlements for beautiful views of the canals and the city.
About the Author:
(Sarthak Palwankar from Mumbai is a mariner, and an artist, He is a travel addict and on his recent trip to Europe he captured his experiences of the coastal city of Livorno in his pictures and writing with the hope that it will benefit the readers and travel enthusiasts travelling to this destination).
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