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The Historical Cemeteries of Livorno

Livorno is historically an important port city: its status as a hub for international trade has helped to make it a crossroads of peoples and cultures.

With the arrival of the Medici in the second half of the sixteenth century, the city began to attract numerous and wealthy foreign merchants, becoming home to consulates and important shipping companies. The “Livornine” Laws favored the arrival of Greek, French, Dutch-Alamanni, Armenian, English, and Jewish traders who led Livorno to establish itself not only as an economic power, but also as a multi-ethnic city par excellence.

The presence of numerous nationalities led to the consequent need to create burial spaces adapted to the different religious orientations.

The first Protestant cemetery to be built in Italy was in fact that of Livorno, called the English. The cemetery stood near the city center, in Via Verdi, near St George’s Church, already a place of worship of the Anglican community.

Around the mid-nineteenth century the burials were suspended to allow the expansion of the city and a new cemetery space was born outside the walls.

The cemetery in Via Verdi suffered serious bombing during the Second World War but still remains one of the most evocative places in the city. It is possible to visit it by reservation, which must be agreed with the adjacent Waldensian church.

The Turkish and Armenian Cemeteries were also built. The first, dedicated to the burial of Ottoman merchants, was built in 1762 and then demolished in 1872 and was characterized by a tall red crenellated wall. The Armenian Cemetery, which also disappeared, housed the tomb of Gregorio Sceriman, an artist and man of letters.

Today you can still visit the Greek Orthodox Cemetery, dating back to about 1840, where orthodox celebrations are still held, and the Cemetery of the Dutch Alamanni Congregation, which was built to replace the previous one, called the “Garden of the Dutch”, and which is today part of the Places of the Heart of the FAI (Italian National Trust)

There were four Jewish cemeteries: the Campaccio, the New Cemetery, the Cemetery of Viale Ippolito Nievo and the Cemetery of Wolves. With the Livornine Laws, in fact, the Medici put in place a series of facilities aimed at Jews from the Iberian Peninsula and in just two hundred years the Jewish community residing in Livorno grew from 114 people to about 5000. The New Cemetery replaced the oldest Campaccio, while the cemeteries of Viale Nievo and the Wolves are still in use.

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