Livorno

Livorno is an Italian port city of approximately 160,000 residents that can be found along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast in western Tuscany. It serves as the capital of the Province of Livorno and is where many cruise passengers begin their Tuscan adventures. Hopping on a cruise ship isn’t the only way to get to Livorno, however. Just a 20-minute drive from the city is the Galileo Galilei Airport in Pisa. Travelers can also get to Livorno directly by taking a train to the Livorno Centrale station. As for things to do once in Livorno, there are plenty of sights and attractions in town, and the surrounding area offers a wide range of ways to stay busy.

Main Sights & Attractions

Main Sights & Attractions
Main Sights & Attractions

Unfortunately, much of Livorno was laid to waste during World War II. Among the casualties in relation to historic structures was the city’s original Duomo, which was completed in 1606. This helps explain Livorno’s relatively modern look when compared to other Italian cities, but it doesn’t mean that historical appeal is lacking. The city’s history is partly revealed in its neighborhoods, which are surrounded by fortified town walls and crossed by canals. It is also revealed in the historic Venice district and the Medici Port. One of the best ways to take it all in is on a boat tour along the canals. Among the main sights to see on such tours is the Fortezza Nuova, which defended the city from attack during the Medici era. While on foot, Livorno visitors can make it a point to visit the city’s piazzas. Some have statues in the middle, as is the case with the important Piazza della Repubblica. Others play host to events, such as markets and concerts. When a break from strolling about town is in order, stopping at a bar, café or restaurant is an option. Tourists can also duck into a museum. Examples of Livorno museums include the Museo Mascagnano, which honors the composer Pietro Mascagni, and the Museo Fattori, which displays Tuscan art. Just outside of the city, the Sanctuary of Montenero provides Livorno visitors with another attraction to consider. More specifically situated about five miles south of the city, this hilltop complex was elevated to the rank of Basilica and is dedicated to the patron saint of Tuscany – Our Lady of Graces. The gallery adjacent to the sanctuary features a rich collection of votive offerings, and visitors can also admire sweeping views of the city and coastline from the sanctuary grounds.

Port of Livorno

Port of Livorno
Port of Livorno

Centuries ago, the port of Livorno replaced the port of Pisa as the main port in Tuscany. In the 1580s, it became a duty free port, and this led to its emergence as one of most important ports in the entire Mediterranean region. European foreigners began moving to Livorno in good number, and in 1606, the town officially became a city. The good days didn’t last forever, however. During the Napoleanic Wars, for example, trade between Livorno and Britain was prohibited and Livorno’s economy suffered significantly. The main hit came in 1868, however. It was in this year that Livorno became part of the new Kingdom of Italy. It was stripped of its status as a free port and fell into commercial decline. This decline can still be felt today, though there is reason to be positive. These days, the port of Livorno welcomes cruise ships at its industrial wharfs and is generally regarded as the port of Florence. Shuttle buses transfer cruise passengers between the port and the city’s Piazza del Municipio. Charges for these transfers usually apply.

Livorno Beaches

Livorno Beaches
Livorno Beaches

Livorno probably isn’t the first destination that most people consider when looking to indulge in the Italy beaches. The city is fairly large, and since it is an important port, there isn’t a lot of space left over for city beaches. That being said, the Livorno area is home to some of the most popular Tuscany beaches. Near town to the south of the old shipyards there are a series of Bagni, which are akin to beach clubs. These clubs feature a range of facilities, such as beach huts, showers, snack bars and toilets. Some even have swimming pools and provide evening entertainment. The actual beach areas at the Livorno beach clubs are generally small man-made areas of sand that are used primarily by children. Older bathers tend to do their swimming from the rocks or the concrete platforms that are situated along the water’s edge. Daily entrance fees apply at the bagni clubs, and locals are known to purchase season tickets for the clubs that they prefer. Beach enthusiasts who are spending time in Livorno can also consider visiting other Tuscany beaches. Several of the beaches in the region are "Blue Flag" beaches. This means that they have been rewarded for their high environmental standards.

Livorno Hotels

Livorno Hotels
Livorno Hotels

Anyone who is planning on including a visit to Livorno on their Italy vacation itinerary will be happy to know that the city has a healthy amount of lodging choices. Among the grandest and most luxurious hotels in town is the NH Grand Hotel Palazzo (pictured). If something smaller and more intimate is preferred, then the Hotel Gennarino or the Hotel Al Teatro are worth considering. Complementing these and the other city hotels are the bed and breakfasts and agriturismo establishments that can be found in the surrounding area. Agriturismo lodging establishments are generally rural retreats that allow guests to stay close to the countryside.

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