Italian port city Livorno. Interesting architecture and nature

Livorno – port city in northern Italy

Livorno is an Italian city located on the northwestern coast of the Apennine Peninsula. It is a major port city, known since the 16th century. Most visitors find themselves in Livorno on their way to the more popular Tuscan cities of Florence, Pisa or Lucca. If you find yourself in this Italian town for a day, Livorno has plenty to see and do and it’s easy to immerse yourself in traditional Italian life.

Today Blogoitaliano will tell you how to organize your holiday in Livorno, what to see and try first and how to get from Livorno to Florence or Pisa.

Sightseeing in Livorno

It’s hard to imagine a holiday in Livorno without sightseeing. For centuries, being a large port city, Livorno has attracted merchants from different countries who have had a significant impact on the formation of its image. Not for nothing is it called the city of a hundred nationalities.

During the bombings of World War II Livorno was almost razed to the ground, so most of what you can see here now are restored buildings on medieval foundations, preserving the romance of 500 years ago.

Livorno – famous since the XVI century port city

The Old Fortress is the main attraction and the true symbol of Livorno. Despite the fact that it was built in the distant XI century, and then it was significantly transformed in the XVI century, that unassailable symbol of Livorno’s power was almost completely destroyed.

And as strange as it may sound, the Old Fortress today is considered one of the youngest buildings of the city. It was restored about 50 years ago and it continues to be restored even today. Anyone can visit the Old Fortress completely free of charge.

The Old Fortress – the most recognizable landmark of Livorno

Another historical sight in Livorno is the New Fortress built for the Medici family in the 16th century in the picturesque area of New Venice.

It was originally a five-pointed star surrounded by ditches and canals, but as the city grew, its massive walls lost their importance and after the bombings of the 20th century they were no longer used for their intended purpose. Now the fortress houses a cozy city park.

A new fortress in the picturesque New Venice

The area where the New Fortress is located is also interesting. It is called Little or New Venice because of the large number of canals, bridges and preserved architecture of the XVI-XVII centuries.

In the Middle Ages this area was especially fond of the rich merchants, and several elegant baroque mansions and villas remain to this day as a memento of their stay.

Cathedral in Piazza Granda (Livorno, Italy)

Livorno’s central square, Piazza Granda, is adorned by yet another famous landmark, the Duomo di Livorno. It is easy to recognize because of its gray facade, which differs significantly from the color of the rest of the walls. The main doors of the cathedral are also interesting, depicting some of the most important episodes of the city’s history.

It is believed that this very cathedral, built back in the 16th century, inspired Inigo Jones to build Covent Garden.

In addition to the cathedral, other religious buildings of interest in Livorno include the Dutch Church – Chiesa della Congregazione Olandese Alemanna, the Waldensian Church of Saint Andrew, the Anglican Church of Saint George, the Armenian Church of San Gregorio Iluminatore, the Greek Cathedral of the Holy Virgin, the Church of Saint Catherine of Siena and the Church of Madonna delle Grazie that rises on the Montenero hill.

This abundance of denominations and religions is a reminder of Livorno’s historic multicultural past.

Do not ignore the monument to the four Moors located on the square of Michelli – the most popular and famous monument of the city.

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It was set up at the end of the XVI century to commemorate the resounding victories of Ferdinand I over the sea pirates. It is the pirates as Moors who are the most interesting. According to the author’s idea they represent four different nationalities at different stages of human life.

Monument to the Four Moors in Livorno, Italy

Tired of the bustle of the city, museum lovers can visit the famous Museum of Natural History of the Mediterranean, devoted entirely to the biological diversity of this region.

The museum is located in the historic Villa Henderson on Viale Roma 234, surrounded by a quiet and comfortable English garden.

Mascani Terrace – A place for leisurely strolls

When all the sights have been explored, the museums have been visited, and you want to take a leisurely stroll along the coastline, head to Mascani Terrace.

This is one of the favorite resting places of the townspeople. Numerous cafes and stores, perennial trees that give you the long-awaited coolness and freshness of the sea breeze – all this can be found on the Maskani Terrace. It ends at the city aquarium, which has more than 150 species of marine life.

If you still have energy left, it is worth stopping here as well, because it is not for nothing that the Aquarium of Livorno is considered the third largest in Italy.

Where to eat and what to try in Livorno?

The cuisine of Livorno incorporates all the traditions of Tuscany accumulated over the centuries, adding to it the delicious fish delicacies of the Mediterranean. So it’s definitely worth trying the local dishes.

You can start the day in one of the many cafes in the city with a cappuccino and a bagel with jam or cream, as the locals themselves do. Also recommended for breakfast is the very tasty local dessert Budino di Riso.

After a hearty breakfast you can head for the Mercato Centrale, Livorno’s central fish market which sells the freshest seafood, Mediterranean fruit and vegetables, famous Italian pasta and inexpensive aromatic olive oil from 6am to midday every day except Sunday.

It’s easy to find food for a picnic in Villa Fabbricotti Park. Don’t forget to take along the local Torta di Ceci.

The Central Market is one of the city’s main attractions.

For an afternoon snack the locals prefer Schiacciata – a slice of flat bread with olive oil, sausages and cheese, or Roschette – small rings of dough. In general, bakery products play a significant role in Livorno life.

The sea delicacies are also loved in Livorno. You can enjoy all the delights of the sea in the restaurant Cantina Senese at Borgo dei Cappuccini 95 or in the boat restaurant Ca’ Moro on Piazza del Pamiglione.

Regardless of the choice of place, we recommend tasting the local Cacciucco, which is made from five species of sea creatures and served with garlic bread.

Cacciucco – a traditional Tuscan dish

For an inexpensive meal you can also eat at La Barrocciaia on Piazza Cavallotti 13. If you find a free table, take it, you can save a lot of money on the main dishes, but if you are unlucky, take a large sandwich for just 5-7 euros.

Tuscan meat dishes are best prepared in the tavern “Cantina Senese”, which can be found in the Borgo di Livorno area.

Do not miss the opportunity to try traditional Tuscan wines as well. They are served both in traditional restaurants and in famous oenotheques Parole e Cibi, Cantina Nardi, La Botte e il Tarro and others.

And to finish your gastronomic journey through Livorno you can end with the most delicious ice cream in Tuscany, which can be found in numerous gelaterias both in the city and on the seashore.

Beaches of Livorno

Livorno is not the best choice in terms of beach holidays. There are a few very small beaches in the city, more like an equipped place to go down into the water. The nearby industrial port also has a negative impact on water quality.

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Despite the fact that Livorno is on the seashore, there are not many beaches.

However, for fans of lazy sunbathing on the picturesque seashore, there is an excellent solution. It is enough to go north of the city, where the city canal connects the Arno River to the sea. Up to the Marina di Pisa for about 10 km there is an excellent sandy beach. There are also nice beaches in the south of the city in Antignano and Ardenze.

Hotels in Livorno

Those who do not like the crowds on the city beach can find a hotel with its own beach in Livorno. Such hotels are few and far from the center. Among the most popular are:

    (located in the south of the city in the Antignano area, 6 km from the center) (located in the building of an elegant early twentieth century villa in the south of the city) (also located in the south of Lirovno, 7 km from the center. Guests are provided with private bungalows on the coast with their own kitchen and access to the sea)

Hotel Rex – a hotel where you can admire incredible scenery right from your balcony

If the beach is not a crucial condition for you it is easy to find a decent hotel at a reasonable price in the center of the city. You can do it by following the link below.

How to get from Livorno to Florence or Pisa

However, for those who stop in Livorno in Italy only as a transit to such famous cities as Pisa or Florence, Blogoitaliano has prepared some recommendations on how to organize your trip to see one or two cities in one day.

  • The first, simplest and most popular way is to book a tour from Livorno to Florence and Pisa. Our guide for Tuscany Natalia, about whom Blogoitaliano already wrote in the article “Excursions in Florence: review of the guide from BlogoItaliano” will help you organize such a tour.
  • A second popular way is to rent a car [link] and see the two cities on your own or choose one of them. Fortunately from Livorno to Pisa and Florence is not too far to go: Pisa is 27 km away, and Florence is 94 km away. The car can be picked up in the city center, where a shuttle bus takes all holidaymakers from the port. If you don’t want to waste time waiting for the shuttle, take a taxi. Take a cab. A shuttle to the city center is not expensive. Those who are planning to travel around Italy by rented car, we recommend to read the article: “Rent a car in Italy: all you need to know when booking a car”.
  • Finally, the third way is to get to Florence or Pisa by public transportation. There are two options: the first is to take the shuttle to Piazza Grande and buy a bus or train ticket to Florence or Pisa from a tobacco shop; the second option is to go directly from the port to the Livorno train station by bus 1 and then take the train to Pisa, Florence or Lucca.

Central station Livorno

WARNING! Before boarding the train do not forget to stamp your tickets. About how to do this, you can read in article “The Italian Railways: train timetable and ticket purchase”.

17 best sights to see in Livorno


Livorno, just south of Pisa, is one of the main economic centers of Tuscany. It is known primarily for its modern seaport, delightful canals and medieval fortifications.

Many tourists come here on cruise ships and see Livorno as just a stopover on their way to the more popular cities on the Apennine Peninsula. Instead of rushing through Livorno, stay here to experience the charms of this unremarkable Italian coastal town.

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Fortezza Nuova – The New Fortress

Fortezza Nuova - New Fortress

Fortezza Nuova – The New Fortress. | Photo: wikimedia.

In the mid-to-late 1500s, in order to increase Livorno’s defensive capabilities, another fortification was built in addition to the existing one. To distinguish between these fortifications, they were called the Old and New Forts (Old and New Fortress).

The New Fort is pentagonal in shape, typical for defensive fortresses of that time, and is an imposing building surrounded on all sides by jagged walls and a canal.

Many of its defensive elements, such as gun ports, have been preserved intact to this day. In the center of the fort today is a beautiful garden. Visitors to Fortezza Nuova have the opportunity to stroll around the fort, explore several passageways and walk along the battlements to admire a beautiful view of the canals and the city.

Address: Fortezza Nuova, Scali della Fortezza Nuova, Livorno, Italy.

Port of Livorno

Port of Livorno

Port of Livorno. | Photo: wikimedia.

The port of Livorno, which stretches from the quiet harbor to the Emissario Canal, which eventually joins the Arno River, is impressive in its monumentality. It is one of the busiest and most productive ports in Italy.

The number of commercial and passenger terminals housed here is astounding. A stroll around this giant port gives you a chance to see how an enterprise of this scale works, and to admire the huge cruise ships docking and unloading their thousands of passengers.

The address is Porto di Livorno, Calata Sgarallino, Livorno, Italy.

New Venice

New Venice

New Venice.

The canal-strewn area near Fortezza Nuova is fondly referred to by locals as New Venice. If you ask the city’s natives what to see in Livorno, this is the first place you’ll be directed.

You can stroll along the Scali della Ancore along the central canal, cross it over the Via della Venezia bridge, admire the beautiful waterways and the small sailing and motorboats anchored along the banks of the canals.

Continue towards the Scali del Refugio and you will see the stunning Church of St. Catherine. Now it is time to go to the New Fortress. We have described only one possible route for your journey. The streets and canals in Nova Venezia are in fact many and it is a charming area to explore for a long time, discovering something new each time.

Address: Venezia Nuova, Livorno, Italy.

Via Grande

Monument to the Four Moors

A monument to the four Moors.

This wide street stretches from the traffic circle near the port to the impressive Piazza della Repubblica. There are many stores and restaurants along it, as well as several important buildings and squares.

At the western end of the street you will find the Quattro Mori (Four Moors) monument, one of Livorno’s main landmarks, and in the middle is Piazza Grande, on which stands the Cathedral of St. Francis. Being located in the center of the city, Via Grande serves as a starting point for many excursions.

Address: Via Grande, 57123 Livorno LI, Italy.

Terrazza Mascagni Promenade

Terrazza Mascagni Promenade

Terrazza Mascagni promenade.| Photo: wikimedia.

Since Livorno is on the coast, it goes without saying that there are several promenades in this city that offer amazing views of the sea. One of them is Terrazza Mascagni, just south of Livorno’s main commercial port.

This promenade, which reaches out into the sea with its beautiful cobbled stone paths, tree-shaded areas and the comparatively small but magnificent Aquarium, is a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike. Terrazza Mascagni is ideal for watching the sunset and a leisurely evening stroll.

Address: Terrazza Mascagni, Viale Italia, Livorno, Italy.

Via Italia.

Ardenza Harbor

Ardenza Harbor.

A walk along Via Italia, which stretches along the sea from the port to Bartolini Park, will give you the opportunity to admire both the amazing coastal scenery and the architecture of Livorno. The most beautiful part of this street is close to the harbor of Ardenza, where you will pass rows of small fishing boats and find yourself in the stunningly landscaped area of the park.

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Along the way, you will come across several bars and restaurants serving fine Italian cuisine. The fantastic sea views and the invigorating sea air make Via Italia the ideal place for a sunny morning stroll.

Address: Viale Italia, Livorno, LI, Italy.

Mercato Centrale – Central Market

Mercato Centrale - Central Market

Mercato Centrale – Central Market | Photo: wikimedia.

If you want to immerse yourself in the measured flow of life of the “natives” of Livorno, go to the local market, the Mercato Centrale. Its huge building on Scali Aurelio Staffi stands out among the surrounding buildings.

Inside there are 34 stores and more than 200 different stalls selling everything – meat, poultry, eggs, ham, cheese, bread, wine… The sights, sounds and smells of the place are divine and you literally won’t know which way to look. In addition to the main pavilion in the market area, there is also an open area where they sell clothes, accessories and other local products.

Address: Mercato Centrale, Via Buontalenti, Livorno, Italy.

Piazza della Repubblica

Piazza della Repubblica

Piazza della Repubblica Photo: Francisco Anzola / Flickr.

There are several impressive squares in Livorno, but Piazza della Repubblica is certainly the most beautiful and largest of them all. This huge square you will find near the canal Fortezza Nuova, running parallel to Via Giuseppe-Garibaldi.

There are two ornamental marble statues at either end of the square, which is shaped like a large oval, and the surrounding buildings are beautifully varied in color and style. There are several noteworthy art galleries as well as many good restaurants. Piazza della Repubblica is a great place to relax and enjoy the culture and silence.

Address: Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Repubblica, Livorno, Italy.

Museo del Fattori

Fattori Museum

The Museo di Fattori.

Located in the historic Villa Mimbelli, surrounded by splendid gardens, the Civivo was opened in 1994. The museum has a rich and interesting collection of works of art. There are works by famous artists, including Giovanni Fattori and other members of the Macchiallo group.

The museum’s collection, spanning several hundred years of history, gives a new perspective on the various forms and styles of artistic creation. The Livorno Museum will certainly be of interest to all art lovers.

Address: Villa Mimbelli – Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori, Via San Jacopo In Acquaviva, Livorno, Italy.

Melorie Islands

Melorie Islands

The Melorie Islands | Photo: Filippo Gini / Flickr.

The Melorias, about 6 kilometers off the west coast of Livorno, are a series of rocky islands. Two islands stand out in this ridge, both tiny, but both offer interesting structures.

The southern island has a modern lighthouse, while the northern island is adorned by an old tower built in the 1500s. Rent a boat at the port of Livorno and sail there: you can sunbathe on the rocks or scuba dive in the clear and relatively shallow waters. Since 2010, the area is a protected conservation area.

Address: Meloria, Livorno, Italy.

Church of St. Ferdinand

Church of St. Ferdinand

Church of St. Ferdinand.| Photo: wikimedia.

Livorno has several beautiful churches, but the most famous is Chiesa di San Ferdinando, located on Via della Venezia, near the port and New Venice. Serving as a fine example of Baroque architecture, this church has a simple exterior design with an unfinished facade.

In complete contrast to the modest exterior is the stunning Baroque interior. The central basilica is richly decorated with works of art, and the columns and arches are lined with stucco. The marble floor is covered with a beautiful pattern, and the central altar has a lot of magnificent sculptures and bas-reliefs of religious themes.

Address: Church of San Ferdinando, Piazza Anita Garibaldi, Livorno, Italy.

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Fortezza Veccia – the Old Fortress

Fortezza Veccia - The Old Fortress

Fortezza Veccia, the Old Fortress. | Photo: wikimedia.

This defensive structure was built by Antonio da Sangallo for the Medici family in the early 1500s. The old fortress, located in the port area near the New Fortress, has been a symbol of the city’s power for hundreds of years.

The fort and its grounds are now open to the public. From the fortress towers and battlements there is a fantastic view of the port and harbor. The fortress has a small but beautiful church of St. Francis, which was built much later than the fortress itself.

Address: Fortezza Vecchia, Piazzale dei Marmi, Livorno, Italy.

The city of Montenero and its funicular railway

Montenero and its funicular railway

Montenero and its funicular railway.

South of Livorno is the small town of Montenero, nestled on the slope of a high hill. It is usually visited only by those who want to take a break from the crowds of tourists and watch the life of a traditional Italian small town in all its splendor.

Montenero’s only attraction is the charming funicular railway which for years has been taking passengers to the Madonna della Grazia sanctuary about 500 meters above. This religious sanctuary has amazing architecture and offers a magnificent view of the coast.

Address: Funicolare di Montenero, Via delle Pianacce, Livorno, Italy.

Calafuria Coast

Calafuria coast

Calafuria Coast.

Along the SS1 highway, about 25-30 minutes south of Livorno, you will find the enchanting coastal town of Calafuria. Calafuria itself has nothing to offer but a few campsites and boarding houses, but its stunning coastline is full of delightful rocky niches and hidden beaches. Residents of Livorno often come here to relax away from the tourists. The scenery here is fantastic, and the rocky stretches of coastline are gorgeous.

Address: Costiera di Calafuria, Via del Littorale, Livorno, Italy.

Beaches of Livorno

Scoli Piatti

Scoli Piatti.

The beautiful Via Italiana, which begins at the Livorno waterfront, stretches along the coast to the south. There are parks and beautiful beaches along this street that begin on the outskirts of the city. Walking paths lead to secluded rocky coves and picturesque promontories.

Check out Scoli Piatti, a rocky cove near Antignano, one of the most beautiful spots on this seashore. South of Antignano is Costiera di Calafuria (Calafuria coast) with magnificent beaches and clear water for diving.

Between Livorno and Piombino you will find many farms and small cottage industries specializing in local delicacies – olive oil, fruits, berries, almonds and freshly baked Tuscan bread. You can visit these farms and taste and buy their products as you explore the coast.

The address is Torre di Calafuria, Strada Statale 1, Livorno, Italy.

Parterre Park

Parterre Park

Parterre Park | Photo: wikimedia.

This lush public park was laid out in the mid-nineteenth century to improve the deserted area around the city’s large body of water. Today it is a peaceful green oasis with tall palm trees, statues of mythological gods and nymphs, fountains and… lots of local dog-eaters.

The slowly expanding collection of open-air animal-themed art objects is reminiscent of the exotic animals kept here in the late 19th century, during the park’s heyday. Among them is a dancing bear named Gigi, of which the local singer Bobo Rondelli wrote a song in 1993.

Address: Parco Pertini “PARTERRE”, Livorno, Italy.

Church of S. Caterina

Church of St. Catherine

Church of Santa Caterina.| Photo: wikimedia.

This early 18th-century Dominican church with thick stone walls and a dome visible from afar stands “on guard” on the west side of the Piazza dei Domenicani. It was built by order of the Medici. Unfortunately, the money for construction ran out quickly, and the façade of the church was never faced with marble. The main altar of St. Catherine is decorated with a painting by Giorgio Vasari “Coronation of the Virgin”.

Address: Church of St. Catherine, Piazza Dei Domenicani, Livorno, Italy.

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