The picturesque Venezia Nuova district, in, in the historic center of Livorno,
is undoubtedly one of the city’s most fascinating locations, and a walk through the neighbourhood is an experience not to be missed.
The Venezia district is the oldest in the city and was created under the rule of Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici, who commissioned Venetian workers to build a district to accommodate the foreign merchants who chose Livorno as a base for their trade.
The district was built using a system of piles and has three levels: on the first level there is the warehouse (known as the cantina), at water level – where the boats unloaded their goods, on the second level there is the first floor warehouse – where goods were stored, and on the third level there was the merchant’s residence. During this period, important buildings were erected, such as the Bottini dell’olio – an oil warehouse that still exists today, and which now houses the City Museum; while on via Borra, the main street of the district, imposing palaces were built, such as the so-called Marble Column Palace, the Huigens Palace and the
Monte di Pietà Palace. As a result, the district became the seat of important shipping companies and consulates.
During the summer festival “EffettoVenezia“, the district comes alive, transforming itself into a suggestive stage of lights and colours reflected in the water of the canals.
Ferdinando I de’ Medici, in order to encourage the city’s demographic growth, issued a law inviting people to settle in Livorno, with the promise of immunity for debts and crimes previously committed, as well as some concessions for buying a house. On 19 February 1591, a further measure guaranteed, for example, the cancellation of debts contracted with foreigners, exemption from taxes, the annulment of criminal convictions and the facilitated sale of housing for anyone who moved to the city. The so-called ‘privilege’ of 1591 was enlarged on 10 June 1593, becoming known as the ‘Livornine constitution’ (also known as the Livornine laws). The Livornina was addressed to Jews and merchants of any nation who came to live in Livorno and Pisa.