Livorno

Livorno Travel Guide

Photo by jannakopulos on Pixabay // CC0

Introduction

Originally called “Leghorn” by the English, Livorno is a Tuscan city that flies under the radar, However, despite not being well-known in travel circles, there are several attractions that make a visit here worthwhile. From its museums to its dazzling seaside promenade, there is plenty to see.

Top Attractions

Begin your visit to Livorno by checking out Fortezza Vecchia. Back in the 11th century, Pisa controlled this area. So, to defend it, they built a fortress to replace the obsolete medieval-era fort. It played host to one of Galileo’s experiments during its life: his principle of the independence of motions.

However, this war-ready structure would have to wait until the 20th century to see action. During the Second World War, the Allies engaged the Italians here, causing extensive damage. But after the war, civic authorities restored it to its former glory.

Next, move on to Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori. This institution is an art gallery dedicated to the artworks of local son Giovanni Fattori. During the 19th century, commentators regarded this artist as among the top Plein-air painters in the country.

In particular, Fattori focused on military paintings – and throughout this gallery, you’ll find plenty of examples. On top of that, this museum also contains displays that recount the history of Livorno. Please pick up an audio guide at reception, as it will provide additional context as you browse.

Want to visit another museum? If so, head over to Museo Della Città next. Here, you’ll find a more detailed explanation of the history of Livorno, dating back to the days of the Etruscans. In addition to these exhibits, there are halls containing progressive and modern art.

This museum contains many displays over two floors, so allow a couple of hours to see it properly. Also, admission to the progressive art wing costs an extra 5 EUR, so don’t forget to bring enough cash.

Lastly, make time to check out Santuario di Montenero. This place is an active monastery populated with monks. As you stroll through, be respectful of those who live here.

Other Attractions

If you’re traveling as a family, set aside an afternoon to visit Acquario di Livorno. Inside, you’ll find marine life that calls places around the Mediterranean home. These include reef sharks, octopuses, coral formations, and an endless assortment of fish. Also, be sure to check out the touch pool!

You can easily reach this facility from Livorno centre via bus. However, be aware that the admission price can be quite steep (17 EUR for adults and 11 EUR for children).

If you’re up for a road trip, head outside of Livorno to check out the Costiera di Calafuria. Unlike other parts of Italy, the seacoast near Livorno is rough and wild. As a result, it’s not the best place for beach lovers, but the waters are great for snorkelers on calm days.

If you’re not into that, you can still go for a scenic stroll. Then, after finishing up, find a restaurant to take in the atmosphere and enjoy a meal/drink.

Check out the local food culture in Livorno by visiting Mercato Centrale. Here, you’ll get to observe residents as they go about their daily business. Inside and along the building’s exterior, you’ll find stalls selling fresh produce, meat, and bakery items.

Also, there are prepared food stands where you can buy breakfast and hard good stalls that wares made by local artisans. Do note that this facility is only open mornings, so time your visit appropriately.

Finish off your time in Livorno by spending an evening strolling along the Terrazza Mascagni. Soon after arrival, its black and white checkered floor will be the first thing you notice. Combine that with its seaside location, and it’s no wonder this place is popular with locals on evenings and weekends. However, food sellers aren’t allowed, so eat before going.

What To Eat/Drink

There’s more to see in Livorno than most people realize. So, by the time midday rolls around, you’re bound to have a rumbling tummy. If you opt to have a tea/coffee break, have this drink with some Schiaccia Briaca.

Originally from the island of Elba, this sweet cake features raisins, walnuts, almonds, and pine nuts. Before its cooks serve it, they douse it with a splash of Alchermes liqueur.

At dinner, find a place that serves Cacciucco. This dish uses the bounty of the nearby sea, as it is a stew containing an assortment of marine life. You’ll find octopus, squid, mussels, prawns, and numerous types of fish in it.

Before retiring for the night, have some Tuaca liqueur as a nightcap. This alcoholic drink, which features a mix of brandy, vanilla, and citrus, rose to popularity during World War II, as American soldiers took kindly to it.

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