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Urban Itineraries in Livorno

Livorno is known for its culinary specialties, such as cacciucco and 5 & 5, its characteristic neighborhoods, but above all for its inhabitants, a smiling and self-mocking population, always up for a joke.

It is a city that fascinates for its picturesque views and that surprises for the rich proposal of activities throughout the year. No matter whether it’s sunny, rainy or windy, you’ll never get bored in Livorno.

Walking around the center of Livorno

One of the symbols of the city that you will find coming from the port, is the statue of the Four Moors, a seventeenth-century monument that testifies to the victory of Ferdinando I de’ Medici over Saracen pirates. The statue is located in Piazza Micheli, in the area of the Medici Port, where you can also observe the sixteenth-century Old Fortress, which was formerly a prison and military zone.

The New Fortress, on the other hand, was designed by Buontalenti, who wanted to build a pentagonal-shaped town, closed by a wall and surrounded by a system of canals. In the following century, part of the building was demolished to make way for the development of the Venice district. Today its interior houses a public park overlooking the canals and Piazza della Repubblica.

A few minutes’ walk from the New Fortress, including a short visit to the Church of the Dutch and the Synagogue, takes you to the Central Market, also called Mercato delle Vettovaglie, the heart of Livorno and therefore a fundamental stop not only for food lovers, but for all visitors. In fact, the market encapsulates the essence of the city, the scents and flavors of the sea and the convivial spirit of its inhabitants.

The vettovaglie market, made of iron and glass according to the fashion of the time, was designed by Angiolo Badaloni at the end of the nineteenth century; it skirts the Fosso Reale (Royal Canal) and is the largest covered market in Europe.

A visit to the most characteristic district, that of “Venezia”, is a must. Its name is not accidental: furrowed by ditches, bridges and canals, it is a miniature Venice. You can admire the beautiful historical palaces, where important foreign merchants lived in the eighteenth century, and the octagonal Church of Santa Caterina da Siena, inside which Vasari painted the Coronation of the Virgin Mary. In summer the district hosts Effetto Venezia, one of the most attractive artistic events in Tuscany.

Livorno and its sea

Another itinerary to be discovered on the streets of Livorno is the one dedicated to the activities and destinations connected to the element of water and the sea, with which the Livorno people have always maintained a close relationship.

An experience to try absolutely is the boat tour along the Medici Canals: it is a way to get to know the city from an unusual point of view, sailing along the canals overlooked by the Cellars, testimony of an ancient commercial and port tradition. The Royal Canal was built at the behest of the Medici family from 1577 with the aim of isolating and protecting the city.

On a rainy day you can opt for a visit to the Livorno Aquarium: a magical and interactive environment where you can discover over 3000 examples of 400 different marine species, a spectacular adventure suitable for all ages.

The late afternoon is the best time to enjoy a walk – or a ride – on the Lungomare (waterfront) and finally enjoy the sunset from the Mascagni Terrace, one of the most famous places in Livorno. The walk leads to the gates of the Naval Academy, a perfect place to stop for an aperitif before dinner.

Livorno seen from above

There is another fascinating place in Livorno, far from the main streets of the center, but no less interesting: it is the Montenero district, located on a hill 300 m above sea level, which dominates the city from above.

The neighborhood is famous for the presence of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Graces, a place of worship and meditation, inside which there is the gallery of ex-votos, which contains a hundred votive paintings donated by Livorno as a tribute to our Lady of Montenero, patron saint of Tuscany. From the Montenero district you can enjoy an enchanting view of the coast and the islands.

Going down to the city you can choose to stop at the beach to enjoy a refreshing swim in the sea, or visit one of the museums of the city: the Giovanni Fattori Museum, which collects works by important Livorno artists, the City Museum, dedicated to contemporary art and the Museum of Natural History.