Things To Do In Livorno
The harbor city of Livorno (Leghorn in English) is classified as the third biggest city in the region of Tuscany. It is also considered as the first starting point to visit Pisa and Florence. The ideal position along the Tuscan coast makes it the perfect destination for cruise ships, family vacations, or for travellers who simply want to understand the history and culture of a city that suffered so much destruction during World War II. You can enjoy long walks on its neat coastal promenade with checkerboard pavements (Terrazza Mascagni) or admire from the ancient fort built since the 16th century (Fortezza Nuova) a view of the old city surrounded by canals filled with small boats. The fort and the terrace can be easily reached by bus. Sea view, rotunda, "New Venice" channels, Mediterranean museum, Italian restaurants, and an aquarium - all these make Livorno a great place to discover and have a relaxing holiday.
When To Go:
The overall atmosphere is normally Mediterranean, hot in the summer and cold with occasional rains and thunderstorms during winter. The summer months of July to August are the best time to visit. The humidity is tolerable and colder towards the evening. The months of April to June or September to October are great times to visit because flight deals and hotel accommodations offer discount during these months and there are less tourist arrivals making the popular attractions less crowded and enjoyed in peace. It is also around this time when the climate is agreeable. November until February is the winter season and if you plan to visit despite the extreme cold weather, pack some warm clothes and thick sweaters in your luggage.
Here are the major tourist attractions and things to do in the city of Livorno:
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Sanctuario di Montenero
The corridors and halls of the Sanctuario di Montenero are filled with drawings, photos and stories of the people who have donated these things as a way of gratitude to the blessings or miracles received from Our Lady of Montenero. From the viewpoint of the sanctuary, you have a breathtaking view of the city. The sanctuary is within walking distance from the city center and accessible after a strenuous climb by car or cable car.
Who passes or stops in Livorno cannot fail to visit the Sanctuary of Montenero. The climb if done on foot is a little tiring, but it's really worth the effort. On this site you will feel at peace and spend time to contemplate. After visiting the shrine, visit the museum of votive offerings and offer a candle to anything you want to thank for. The church looks out to the terrace and sees all of Livorno, the sea, and if the weather allows, the neighbor islands which look truly unique.
Chiesa Santa Caterina da Siena
A church that is worth visiting, from the outside looks like a rather old building and you’ll be surprised by what you're going to see on its interiors. Once inside the Chiesa Santa Caterina da Siena especially during the day, you will find a church with frescoed ceilings covered with marble that is worth it just for the particularities of the hexagonal plan. During a Holy Mass celebration, the church is open and there is the opportunity to visit the cellars and roof terrace.
It is a beautiful building in the heart of Venice neighborhood and like many things in Livorno, deserves an enhancement and restoration work. However, this is one of the most important monuments and sights of the city.
The church was built in place of a small church before and annexed to the Dominican convent from 1720 onwards by the architect Giovanni del Fantasia. The edifice of the cathedral has a hexagonal design with side chapels and topped by a large dome. It has 63 meters of high walls with frescoes painted in the nineteenth century by Cesare Maffei. Above the entrance portal is the window which bears the insignia of the Dominican order (1951), a work done by Livornese contemporary artist Renato Natali. The facade is left in the rough and looks suggestive and near the choir there is a remarkable oil painting by Vasari that makes this church truly worth a visit.
This lovely gazebo with a checkerboard floor is located in the middle of the promenade in Livorno. If it’s not too windy, you can sit and admire the sea. The spacious promenade of the Terrazza Mascagni is a great place for walking, biking, or rollerblading. It’s like a huge, stretched out balcony with tiled floors and railings. Nearby there are cafes and restaurants where you can eat at any time of the day. It's a long corridor from which you can watch the sea and take wonderful pictures especially at sunset.
Livorno city does not have much to see and the few things that are worthwhile is this boardwalk. It is located a bit far from downtown, although there are bus lines that leave you there and where you can enjoy a pleasant walk of about twenty minutes. When the weather is good, it is common for people to gather on this attraction to enjoy the sun and heat, or exercise. It is highly recommended for a walk and have a delicious ice cream at one of the many bars or ice cream parlors that are there.
It evolves from the first old tower (Castrum Liburnian) with shelters for the few fishermen of Livorno. From this and in several stages, successive expansions were performed until the 16th century that lead to the current conformation. It was the subject of a partial restructuring a few years ago and was the star of some attempt to enhancement by hosting summer concerts and artists of various kinds.
More enhancements are still on the way for this historical heritage that is the first interesting thing that every tourist see once they arrive at the port of Livorno. Before getting on the bus to Pisa and Florence, everyone must spend even an hour in the Fortezza Vecchia, which can be enriched in terms of reception and rearranged as it deserves. The Old Fort deserves to be seen for both the history and the beauty of the structure and to enjoy the view of Livorno on the upper floors.
The Scogli Piatti is a landmark site that is just a stone's throw away from the city of Livorno and this coast offers a variety of things to do even for those with limited time to spend in the city. It is easily accessible with ample parking spot always, the rocks are flat and comfortable even for those without shoes, and there are several suggestive coves where you can enter the water easily with shallow water.
The rocks are flat to such an extent as to guarantee to lie as if you were on the beach if space permits. The water is clean, calm sea, sun and high current right colors you see are really relaxing for the mind and spirit, and the water with various shades of green and blue is guaranteed. The depths are very interesting for snorkelling and diving; and a few meters from the cliff; next to an average depth of 10m you can spot the different species of bream, sea bream, sea bass and mullet, bluefish, and octopus.
Costiera di Calafuria (Coast of Calafuria)
Southbound coming from Livorno, just past the city begins the path of Romito. Early in the morning, when there is little traffic it is really nice to take this road because it overlooks the coast and a show that immediately puts you in a good mood. The Coast of Calafuria or the Costiera di Calafuria is especially nice for the characteristic of its flat rocks; it has easy access to the sea where you can take a swim in the clear water.
When seen from afar, you will be struck by the natural spectacle of nature and the carved rocks, but if you go down to sea level you will find that the sea is clear and inviting. For lovers of the sea, this is the right place for you. Getting down on the rocks and diving into the blue sea is really something priceless. Alone or with friends, day or night, in good weather or storm, the whole stretch of cliff between Antignano and Quercianella deserves to be seen! Even just going by car; it is a show not to be missed if you are in Livorno.
Acquario di Livorno
The Acquario di Livorno is a small aquarium with giant turtles, stingrays, parrot fish, moray eels and other interesting inhabitants of the seas. In fact, the fish and the inhabitants of the region are represented by only one floor. Children will love to look at the inhabitants of the aquariums and touch stingrays and the huge turtles; this aquarium is not only educational, but also entertaining. It is located in the picturesque seaside area near the waterfront and the port of Livorno.
The entrance is not immediately and easily recognizable, and you must access it from a nearby beach. The aquarium has several species of fish with environments created with care. The traditional route between the tanks is also a chance to touch the marine life and species on the water. Also on the first floor is an exhibition of maps and navigation tools, and you can access the terrace directly overlooking the sea. Size is very modest compared to the Aquarium of Genoa, but a nice ride for an afternoon visit. The guides enrich the experience by explaining the details of each tank. Because it is not large, the children are able to walk along the route safely without the fear of getting lost.
The Venecia Nuova or the “New Venice” is a place that is known as the small Venice in Tuscany because of its narrow canals and boats. It is a promenade area that you can explore both on foot and by boat. It offers different perspectives about Livorno and some good opportunities to take pictures. Among these channels you can meet old Tuscan gentlemen with a sense of pleasure and pride manning their small boats along the canals of Livorno. The neighborhood reminds Venice with its canals; obviously it has nothing to do with Venice, but it is very nice and charming with a few buildings and a few attractions seen from the water.
The Venice neighborhood is very unique and easy to reach, just follow the Great Way and turn after the town hall. The canals and buildings built around it add character to the city. However, along with the beautiful views coexist degraded areas; but it can be enhanced and do more if given the chance. It is the oldest and best preserved part of the city. It was born in the eighteenth century under the impetus of trade and was almost dead during the Second World War. There are beautiful and unique corners and at the same time degraded areas, but it is definitely worth a visit. Of particular interest are the churches of Santa Caterina, San Fernando and San Giovanni, as well as some buildings. Very romantic and charming, especially at night. It is highly recommended to have dinner at a restaurant in the neighborhood, all overlooking the canals.
The Fortezza Nuova was inspired from the plant with five points from where Bernardo Buontalenti designed and built this in the 16th century as a fortress during the Medici government. The fortress is beautiful and well preserved, and it is accessed by a small bridge where you need to enter the walls. The interior has been transformed into a park with trees and benches that are cool even on the hottest days.
After remaining closed for many years, this magnificent fortress was reopened to the public. Outside it is really beautiful and impressive, though at various points you can observe some signs of decay and neglect left by citizens of Livorno; while internally it has a very unusual feature for a fortress; a large green area where you can relax and admire some parts of the city as the Venice of the traditional district. Also, there is a statue dedicated to the great Giuseppe Mazzini and a slab where they have written the names of some of the Livornese killed during the uprisings of 1849.
Museo di Storia Naturale del Mediterraneo
Surrounded by a beautiful grove of oaks in the city center; the Museo di Storia Naturale del Mediterraneo also includes a vegetable/botanical garden, bonsai exhibition Mediterranean, several exhibition halls, planetarium, and sea room with the preserved skeletons of cetaceans and whales. The museum is a pleasant surprise, especially for the little room with the whales. The context and themes of this museum are prestigious, neat and clean, and the staff is helpful and makes the tour more interesting. It is not easy to find but it is well worth the visit when in Livorno.
The museum covers three levels; the first is a room about the evolution of man, very interesting and explained in great detail; the second is a room where you can see a large amount of minerals and fossils, while the third is a magnificent room where you can see some animal species of different classes. However, there is also another room located near the entrance of the villa where you can see some skeletons of dolphins and two impressive cetaceans. Finally, back to the villa there is a beautiful botanical garden where many plants are located in a fascinating path and a pond inhabited by some animals.
Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori
The Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori is located inside the park of Villa Mimbelli, a beautiful structure that houses the museum. Inside you will find many paintings by Macchiaioli, including several works by Giovanni Fattori. The works are impressive and the interior of the villa is also an admirable work of art. Look on the ground floor room that is designed in Moorish Oriental style, it is spectacular! Unfortunately the outside of the villa should be restored and the administration must make a lot more promotion for the museum visit.
This little known museum is the added attraction to a splendid nineteenth century villa that is beautifully decorated with frescoes and Murano chandeliers. The first two floors is quite simple and has a collection of paintings about the Port of Livorno. On the 2nd floor, guests are often left in awe after seeing paintings about war. Two rooms are dedicated to the founder of the Macchiaioli, and all his displayed paintings are excellent. There are other notable works of Signorini League, Superb Pointillist and the framework of Garibaldi in the last room and a few portraits of Corcos.
Eremo di Santa Maria alla Sambuca
The Eremo di Santa Maria alla Sambuca is a short trip out of town. The hermitage is uninhabited but the site where it is located is surrounded by a picturesque forest with the stream next. It's worth the approximately two-hour walk and can also be explored by bike. The path in the woods is only a few kilometers from Livorno and there is a road connecting the Valle Benedetta hermitage of Sambuca in the green hills of Livorno. The route winds through shaded areas and breathtaking views from the spacious lawns. In fact, you can see the view of the city and the sea in areas without trees. The walk lasts 2/3 hours between return, depends on the dwell time to the Hermitage. At the park, there are also picnic tables and ample spaces for parking.
Livorno has a historic beauty to show off to the younger generation even if it was 80% destroyed by war. The starting point for the Tuscany region, this quiet Mediterranean city is dotted with old structures, great cathedrals, interesting museums, and blessed with a rich coast with many restaurants, luxury hotels, resorts, pizzerias, etc.. The preserved forts and the long terrace provide lots of opportunities for a great photograph and meeting local guides who can bring you between sea and hills, art and culture, food and wine, and the most balanced presentation of history. When in Tuscany, go to Livorno and you will not be disappointed.
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