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Fortezza vecchio, fortezza nuovo,

Grande porto, piccoli canali......

Thanks, Google Translate. "Old fort, new fort, big port, little canals" just didn't have any pizzazz. The above image is the Piazza della Repubblica and a piccoli canale.

Livorno is the third largest port in Italy, so the area near the cruise port is very commercial. Once away from the port, however, and you will find a very pretty town with an interesting history. Livorno was a village until the 1500's, when the Medici family developed it as the port for Florence and Pisa. It was known for religious tolerance, and a merchant class of Jewish, British, Dutch-German and other Europeans set up 'nations', areas of different cultures. Livorno was bombed heavily in WWII, but you can still find remnants of this, especially in the churches as you will find a Jewish Synagogue, Protestant and Anglican churches and Greek Orthodox as well as Roman Catholic.

The cruise port is in an industrial area, but there is a good shuttle service that takes you to Via Cogorano in the center of the town.

I suggest that you do this walking tour and a boat tour through the canals. This will give you a very pleasant day in port!

Step 1 - Shuttle stop to the Four Moors

The cruise port shuttle service takes you to Via Cogorano. Walk south from the bus stop to the square and the Cathedral of San Francesco, also called the Duomo. The rounded arches on the front were designed by Inigo Jones, the British architect. It is a charming church with some famous paintings.


     1. Walk back to the street in front of the church.

     2. Turn right and walk to the waterfront.

     3. Turn right at the statue.

Facing the church, walk to your right down Via Grande. This is the main shopping street in Livorno, and has the porticos on both sides of the street, good for shopping on an inclement day.

When you come to the waterfront street, turn right again. Ahead of you is the most famous statue in Livorno - Monumento Dei Quattro Mori (Monument of the Four Moors). Grand Duke Ferdinand I stands above the four chained prisoners, celebrating his victory over the Ottomans.


(Legend has it, that if you stand where you can see the noses of all four prisoners it brings good luck. There is a white brick on the surrounding walkway to show you exactly where to stand....)

Across the street from the statue you can catch the boat tour. See the website - Livorno by Boat for the times and prices. At the time of this writing, the tours leave at 11:15, 12:15, 3:15, 4:15 and 5:15. As the number of people on the boat is limited, it might be good to pre-order tickets from the website. The boat tour takes one hour. You can also catch the boat tours at the north end of Piazza della Rebubblica.

©2018 Google  ©2009 GeoBasis-DE/BKG
©2018 Google  

Step 2 - The Four Moors to the Fortezza Vecchio


     1. Walk on the waterfront side of the street.

     2. Go out on the viewing area to see the old fort.

     3. Walk to the end of the viewing area.

©2018 Google  ©2009 GeoBasis-DE/BKG

Step 3 - Fortezza Vecchio to Church of Santa Caterina



     1. Walk down the stairs at the end of the viewing area.

     2. Walk along the canal to the first bridge and cross it.

     3. Turn right and continue to walk along the canal to the      church of Church of Santa Caterina.

When the viewing area ends, there are steps down under the street to the canal level. Follow the path by the canal to the first bridge, and cross it. Turn right and follow the canal path around the corner to the baroque Church of Santa Caterina.

We are now in the  "New Venice" district, the Quartiere Venezia. Houses of rich merchants and warehouses were build along the canals, for easy access.


The Church of Santa Caterina was opened in 1753, but oddly enough, the facade is still not complete. The lantern tower is a later addition.

It is not what it seems from the outside! The church is octagonal, with a dome copied from Rome's Pantheon. Each of the eight sides have arches, some leading to chapels. There is some beautiful art, and the inside of the church is very impressive.

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Step 4 - Church of Santa Caterina to Fortezza Nuovo


     1. Cross the bridge.

     2. Turn left and follow the canal.

     3. Cross the stone bridge to enter the fort.

The Fortezza Nuovo was built at the end of the 16th century as part of the much larger city fortifications. By the end of the 17th century, much of the larger fortifications were dismantled, leaving the 'new' fort.

Since then it hasn't been needed for protection, and has been used in many ways. The structures were severely destroyed by WWII bombings and more recently the fort has been made into a park. There is only the one entrance, through a dark tunnel - originally there was a drawbridge. Have a look! There isn't much left of the original fort, and the ruins are near the entrance.

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Step 5 - The Fortezza Nuovo to the Piazza della Repubblica


     1. Cross the bridge leaving the fort.

     2. Turn left and follow the canal.

     3. Cross the first bridge.

     4. Turn left along the canal to the piazza.

The  Piazza della Repubblica is a large square. There are two important sculptures - at the north end of the square is the Monument to Leopoldo II of Tuscany, and at the south end is the figure of his father, Grand Duke Ferdinando III of Tuscany, photo below.

The square hosts several large events and concerts during the year.

The square is actually an enormous bridge, as the canal runs under the length of it.

©2018 Google  ©2009 GeoBasis-DE/BKG

Step 6 - The Piazza della Repubblica to the Mercato Centrale


     1. Walk down the side of the square.

     2. Turn right on Via Biontalenti.

     3. Walk to the market.

     4. Turn right at end of market building.

Walk down the side of the  Piazza della Repubblica to about even with the statue of Ferdinand (above). Turn right on Via Biontalenti - the street name is on the wall of the corner building. The market is in the third block.

©2018 Google  ©2009 GeoBasis-DE/BKG

This market is one of the largest covered markets in Italy. It is designed with a French feel, and the building itself is spectacular. There are lots of vendors with great food for your lunch, and Italian markets are always fun, with noise and good-natured bargaining. There are 34 shops and over 200 different stalls that sell meat, poultry, eggs, ham, cheese, bread, wine and lots more. The markets open early in the morning and close early in the afternoon, usually about 1:30 p.m.

The fruit and vegetable market is outdoors. Walk to the end of the market building and turn right for two short blocks. This is great for photography with the beautiful colors. 

In Italy, people shop each day so the food is as fresh as possible. The customers are familiar with the vendors and enjoy noisy bargaining.


Step 7 - The Mercato Centrale to shuttle stop


     1. Walk back to the Mercato Centrale.

     2. Turn right and walk three blocks.

     3. Turn right to see the Synagogue.

     4. Walk ahead through arch and turn right.

     5. Turn left to the shuttle stop.

Now we will see the Synagogue, and to see it properly from all angles, walk back to the indoor market and turn right. Follow that street around until you come to this marvelous building. Turn to walk up beside it to see the different aspects. Then walk ahead through an arch and turn right to the Cathedral of San Francesco and left to the shuttle stop two blocks ahead.

©2018 Google  ©2009 GeoBasis-DE/BKG

This walk is approximately three km. or 2 miles. 

If you walk the streets of Livorno and take the boat tour through the canals, it will give you an interesting day.

©2018 Google  ©2009 GeoBasis-DE/BKG
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