- NORTHERN ITALY
- CENTRAL ITALY
- SOUTHERN ITALY
- INSULAR ITALY
Livorno is a fairly recent city, in relation to the most famous historic Tuscan cities. Developed from the second half of the 16th century as a maritime stronghold of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, it has grown over the years its population, so much so that it has become the third largest city in Tuscany, after Florence and Prato.
Despite its size, it retains the salty smell of the seaside town and a nationally renowned seafood culinary culture. Renowned local dishes are"Cacciucco" and"Baccalà alla livornese".
Fascinating will be a promenade on the Mascagni Terrace, up to the sculpture of the" Quattro Mori" and nearby to look at the Old Fortress, an ancient and majestic Medici fortress on the sea. From there you can head towards the New Fortress, along the water canals that characterize the Venezia Nuova district.
The Mascagni Terrace is a long and large terrace with a checkerboard floor overlooking the sea. It is one of the most evocative places in Livorno, whose size recalls the greatness of the sea in front.
Between the terrace and the busy street there are large public gardens, which make it a particularly relaxing place. In the middle of the gardens there is a large gazebo, built in the early 1930s for music orchestras. The square was dedicated to Mascagni, a well-known composer from Livorno at the time, following his death.
On the other side of the gardens, still near the Terrazza Mascagni, is the Livorno Aquarium, the largest aquarium in Tuscany.
Continuing along the promenade towards the center, you will notice a large bastion overlooking the sea: the Old Fortress, dating back to the 16th century. Today, concerts and public events are held here.
Before the fortress, about a hundred meters from this, on the right there is the sculpture of the" Quattro Mori". The famous sculpture was erected in 1626 and represents four slaves who worked at the “Bagno dei conventi”, the prison near the Old Fortress.
Venezia Nuova is a neighborhood inspired by Venice, due to the canals that cross it and connect the Old Fortress to the New Fortress. The district was built in the 17th century for commercial purposes. The current testimony of this is" I bottini dell'Olio", ancient warehouses transformed into a Museum and Municipal Library, which show the scars of the Second World War, such as the nearby Church of the Piazza Pio.
Nearby is the Church of Santa Caterina, particularly beautiful inside and with an octagonal dome. Inside there is also the altarpiece"Coronation of the Virgin" by Giorgio Vasari, a work dating back to the sixteenth century, the period of foundation of this city.
The New Fortress was built at the end of the 16th century and shows the typical appearance of the fortress surrounded by a moat full of water, called Fosso Reale. The only access is not easily identifiable, but the might of the structure, visible from afar, will undoubtedly attract the visitor's attention and a visit inside is highly recommended.
The inner ramparts lasted only a century, because around 1630 the complex was largely dismantled. The bombing of the Second World War did the rest, destroying most of the internal constructions. After having also been a refuge for displaced people and an abandoned place for decades, today the Fortezza Nuova is above all a beautiful public park, full of greenery. The only space that has survived is the Cross-vaulted Arms Room where cultural events take place.
Finally, from the fortress it will be possible to have an overview of the historic center.
The historic center is the fortified city, that part of the city surrounded by the Fosso Reale.
In the immediate vicinity of Fortezza Nuova there is Piazza della Repubblica. It is a very large square, which connects the New Fortress to the remaining Fosso Reale, which originally followed the perimeter of the fortified city. Built in the 19th century on a pre-existing stretch of the Fosso Reale, it is the largest square in Livorno and one of the longest in Italy. Due to the presence of the Fossa Reale at the top, the square seems even longer.
Along the moat, you arrive at the Central Market of Livorno, better known as the Vettovaglie Market. Built at the end of the 19th century, the Mercato delle Vettovaglie is one of the largest markets in Europe and is characterized by a dichotomy between iron and glass which makes it an interesting building to see.
The Duomo, or Cathedral of San Francesco, is located in the heart of the fortified city, a few hundred meters from the Vettovaglie Market. The cathedral was built from 1594 to 1606 and remodeled several times over the centuries. Almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, nothing remains of the original Church. The brick-clad building has a gabled marble facade with a three-arched loggia. The interior is a Latin cross, with a single nave flanked by the chapels of the Blessed Sacrament and the Conception of Mary.
The cathedral is located in Piazza Grande, which retains only the name of the great. In fact, in the postwar period, in more recent times, palaces were built inside. Once it was even possible to see the Grand Ducal Palace from the Cathedral of San Francesco.
The Sanctuary of Montenero, more precisely Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie di Montenero, is a large sanctuary, located on the hill of Monte Nero, from which it is possible to have a panoramic view of the sea from an elevated position. It is located a few kilometers south of Livorno and can be reached via a footpath. Alternatively, you can take the Montenero funicular near the hill.
Built and enlarged starting from the 17th century, its tradition has ancient origins. In fact, legend has it that in 1345 the miraculous image of the Madonna delle Grazie was found by a lame farmer, who was healed after carrying the painting to the hill.