The Torre del Marzocco is an ancient watchtower, dating back to the 15th
century, that rises in Livorno, inside the port area in the north of
the city. It owes its name to the presence of the “Marzocco”, the
rampant lion symbol of the Republic of Florence; the lion, depicted on a bronze
wind vane at the top of the pinnacle, was lost at sea during the 18th century, after being struck by lightning.
In the Middle Ages, the Marzocco area was part of Porto Pisano, the port of
the Republic of Pisa, operating since Roman times. After the decline of Pisa and its port, in 1421, the Republic of Florence gained full control over the Castle of
Livorno, the small village located in a cove south of Porto Pisano.
The Torre del Marzocco represents the first major
work carried out by the Florentine government in Livorno, and was built on the
ruins of Vermiglia; some attest to its construction around the middle of the
fifteenth century, while for others it was built from 1423, on the ruins of a Pisan tower. The tower was restored after 1737, in the first decades of
the twentieth century, and has been incorporated into the growing structures of
the port of Livorno.