Information about the city of Livorno
If you want to experience a bit of Tuscan coastal and city life, Livorno is a great choice for a day or weekend getaway. Livorno is the second largest city in Tuscany with around 160.000 inhabitants. The city is namesake for the Province of Livorno. Don't expect a medieval city center like other Tuscan cities, but prepare for a great seafood port city, a charming Venetian-style neighborhood with canals and beaches stretching south from the city.
Many cruise ships call at Livorno. So there are also many tourists coming over the sea. Livorno has many different sights. The various sights are described in more detail below.
Livorno, the second largest city in Tuscany, is located in the west of the beautiful region of Tuscany.
Many Italian holidaymakers know the city of Livorno and its port as the starting point for ferries to the numerous Italian islands Elba, Sicily, Sardinia or to the French island of Corsica or as a start to a cruise through the Mediterranean.
The city of Livorno is steeped in history
Compared to the ostentatious Florence the commercial and port city of Livorno with its demure charm seems more like one of many big cities. A long tradition in shipbuilding determines the life of the residents. Oil refineries and industrial plants characterize the townscape in the north unmistakably. But the countless canals that run through the old town have also given it the nickname "Venezia Nuovo".
Despite a major destruction in World War II, some of the historical building fabric with the Medici handwriting has been preserved. Today the city of Livorno has grown into a cosmopolitan melting pot, which, with its lively atmosphere and the Italian joie de vivre that can be felt everywhere, brings people from all over the world together.
points of interest & sights
The city has a unique and large port. The port of Livorno is one of the largest in Italy and is a trading center for sea and shipping. Many ships are cruise ships that have the city as a stopover on their route. There are also other smaller ferries, mainly Corsica, Sardinia, Elba or other islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. Most ferries are also suitable for cars and other vehicles. The port of Livorno is home to the famous Amerigo Vespucci naval training ship. So you shouldn't be surprised if you spot many of the ship's flags on tall ships. Between September and the end of April the ship is in port and you can visit it.
Nuova Venezia (New Venice)
There is a part in Livorno known as Nuova Venezia (New Venice). In the 17th century the city had many moats, which also supplied the city with water. However, during this time the city expanded and repurposed these moats. They served as a transport route for smaller ships and boats to transport goods to the port. At that time, the builders of these moats followed the construction techniques in Venice, which is how these moats got their name. Today, tourists can book various boat tours to explore "the new Venice". The canals pass many of the city's other attractions, such as Fortezza Nuova (the new fort), rebuilt after it was nearly destroyed in World War II.
After enjoying your breakfast on the small terrace overlooking Livorno, head to the coast where you will find the aquarium. The aquarium is definitely worth a visit if you're interested in underwater life, and a must-see if you're traveling with children travel. In the aquarium you will find the fascinating big green turtles, black tip reef sharks, beautiful jellyfish and many other colorful and funny looking fish. For more information about the Livorno Aquarium, see our review here.
After visiting the aquarium, walk along the Mascagni terrace and return the same way to the Lunch in one of the restaurants to enjoy. Surfer Joe's, right by the aquarium, offers typical fast food fare (burgers, fries and milkshakes), while others offer more Italian-themed dishes with different types of seafood. The food is delicious, the service is great and the street noise is barely audible.
Piccola Venezia and park life
In the afternoon, stroll towards the Piazza Grande, around which the vibrant city life is located. As you walk down Via Cairoli, look to the left and you will see the Synagogue in Piazza Benamozegh. To visit the synagogue you have to make an appointment, but the building itself is very impressive and stands out against the Italian architecture. In Piazza Grande, take a break on the steps of the cathedral and watch some of the locals. Continue to the Piccola Venezia neighborhood, named for its canals. Walk back to Piazza Matteotti along the main shopping street, Via Cairoli, where you will find various shops for clothes, shoes and bags. Go straight on Via Ricasoli / Via Giovanni Marradi and turn right on Via Viale Goffredo Mameli.
The city is also impressive for its Markt, the Mercato Centrale. You can find the market at Scali Aurelio Staffi.
Where is the Mercato Centrale?
You will be able to see the building from afar as it stands out from the surrounding houses. This place reflects a traditional and Italian market. The sounds and smells you will hear are unique. You will be swallowed up by the mood and the impressions and immerse yourself in another world. You will find over 30 shops and 200 stalls in this market where you can buy poultry, eggs, meat, wine, bread and, above all, fish. You can also buy clothes and accessories outside the market.
Dinner at a local trattoria
The local trattoria La Botteghina in Via Roma 159 is particularly recommended for dinner. It's especially handy if you're staying at Il Grattacielo, as it's just a two-minute walk from Piazza Matteotti. The place has existed since the 1950s, which is shown by old pictures and other antiques on the walls, which makes it very charming with a cozy atmosphere. The menu varies every day. The service is lovely and the food is delicious. A main course with dessert including wine and water costs around EUR 20 per person. In the trattorias you should always try the pasta carbonara with seafood.
Last updated: 06.02.2024