between history and the sea

fortezza vecchia e fortezza nuova 

The Old Fortress is a standout sight, especially when you arrive by boat. It’s called the “Old” Fortress to tell it apart from the nearby “New” Fortress, which is also old but built more recently. You can explore the Old Fortress for free, except during events, which happen a lot in the summer. There are a couple of open spaces you can check out on your own. The New Fortress is right by Europe’s biggest bridge-square, Republic Square, and has a park you can visit for free.

the harbour 

The oldest part of town, now known as Porto Mediceo, is named after the Medici family from Florence who built many important buildings here. It’s different from the busier commercial port nearby. Today, it’s a peaceful spot where fishing boats dock and boats set off for Capraia Island, plus there’s a place for sailboats too. Our hotel is just a short walk away. A walk around this area at sunset is beautiful and makes for some great photos.

il lungomare and calafuria

Livorno stretches out long and narrow, reflecting its residents’ deep affection for the sea; much like lovers, they long for its nearness. This bond has given rise to a stunning 7 km promenade hugging the coastline, a path you can casually stroll or cycle through, always in view of the water’s embrace.

To the city’s south lies the breath-taking Romito coast, also known as Calafuria. Here, majestic sandstone cliffs meet the turquoise sea, creating a spectacular natural sight. Nestled within these great rocks are secluded coves, cherished by the locals as idyllic summer retreats for basking in the sun’s warmth.

la terrazza mascagni

The Mascagni Terrace is a special spot you should definitely see, especially at sunset when you can watch the sun dip into the sea. It’s free to visit, and a stroll there can really lift your spirits!

Back in the 1920s, the terrace got its current look, complete with a famous gazebo where bands used to play. After World War II, they made it bigger using rubble from bombings. Now, it has over 4,100 little columns, covers 8,700 square meters, and has almost 35,000 tiles.

the taste of livorno 

the central market 

Chickpeas, bread, and fish are the simple and tasty staples of Livorno’s cuisine. The best spot to try these dishes is the Mercato Centrale. You can easily spend a whole morning here. Start with breakfast at one of the cosy cafes right inside the market, enjoying your meal in the middle of the lively market atmosphere. Then, wander around, checking out the fresh produce and seafood stalls. Don’t miss having a lunch of Livornese-style cod or cacciucco, a local favourite, while you’re there.

il cacciucco 

One of Tuscany’s most beloved dishes, cacciucco, is a traditional fish soup from Livorno. This simple dish has deep historical roots, possibly dating back to the Phoenicians. Originally made from the day’s unsold or leftover catch, it included at least 13 types of fish and seafood, like gurnard, octopus, and cuttlefish. Nowadays, the recipe uses around 6-7 varieties but remains a rich mix of flavours, capturing the essence of the sea in every bowl.

Modigliani, fattori e Mascagni 

Modigliani, a world-renowned artist, was born in Livorno. His life was full of drama, big passions, and mysteries, almost like a movie. One of his famous paintings is “Beggar of Livorno.” The house where he spent much of his childhood, which later became a school started by his mother, is now open to visitors by appointment. It’s on Via Roma.

Villa Mimbelli is home to an art museum showcasing the Macchiaioli painters. This group, including Livorno’s own Giovanni Fattori, revolutionized art in the late 1800s.

Livorno is also famous for music, thanks to composer Pietro Mascagni. His first opera, “Cavalleria rusticana,” was a huge hit in 1890. The city’s music institute, which is named after him, is where he studied. It’s also known for the beautiful Mascagni Terrace.