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A walk around Livorno


A walk around Livorno, looking for the signs of its history. A fishing village that has changed? in the pi? important port of the Mediterranean after the decline of the Maritime Republic of Pisa. A rivalry? between Pisa and Livorno which never ended. ? Better a dead man at home than a Pisan at the door? say the people of Livorno in the name of the joke. ? What God will you please? the Pisans answer!
Florence had bought it from the Genoese, did he design it? at the table as a city? ideal and perfect in the shape of a pentagon, and then filled by people of every nation, with different languages, religions and customs, giving life to an extraordinary example of society? multicultural.

1 day

Saturday September 5th

Departure from Como at 4:30
Arrival in Livorno at 9:30
We parked the car near Piazza della Vittoria or Piazza Magenta (where the church of Santa Maria del Soccorso stands),
but I suggest you start your tour from the Old Fortress why? ? where it all began!

-Fortezza Vecchia:
To understand Livorno we must go back in history and consider its symbiotic relationship with the sea.
Oh yes, why? the sea has permeated every aspect of the life of the inhabitants of this place, since it was a small fishing village.
IS? on the sea, near the Old Fortress which was the ancient village of Labron.
With the silting up of Porto Pisano, the only outlet to the sea of ​​the Republic of Pisa, the small Livorno dock was chosen by the Pisans as a place to give life to the new port to continue maritime traffic.
However, the actual fortress was built only around 1500, at the behest of the de? Doctors, who entrusted? the project to one of the pi? illustrious military architects of the time: Antonio da Sangallo the Elder, a true specialist in fortifications.
What? between 1518 and 1532 an imposing fortified structure was built which incorporated the ancient towers and ramparts previously built for the defense of the village: the th century square tower, the th century cylindrical tower and the Pisan quadrature.

-We instead started our tour walking along via Magenta until we reached Piazza Cavour and then we continued, turning right, along the Fosso Reale until we reached the Provision Market.

-The ditches were dug in 28 years starting from 1577, as a formidable defense to protect the nascent Livorno. The characteristic name of Fossi, with which they have always been called, derives from the fact that they were born as large military ditches to isolate the city? and its fortresses.
There is an interesting one hour boat tour that leaves from the port and passes through the ditches.

-The Provision Market (or Central Market or Covered Market)? an interesting construction built in 1894 following the model of the old Parisian Halles. How size,? the second largest market structure in Europe.

Livorno was a free port that had assumed a central role in the sphere of trade in the Mediterranean. The city? it developed all around the ditches and canals that branched off from the port and on these the boats that transported goods to supply the warehouses passed through. As for centuries the houses had their warehouses directly overlooking the ditches, the Market was also specially placed on the ditch with direct access for the supply and export of goods sold inside the building.

Inside, we have browsed through the benches, where can you? find all kinds of goods: freshly caught fish, vegetables, meats, cheeses? Ed? here, which in my opinion, you can perceive the soul of Livorno, between the dialect spoken by the people, the colors of the counters, the scents of typical products and the taste for art in its wonderful roof influenced by iron and glass constructions nineteenth century.
And to think that the first time I visited London I didn't know that the famous Covent Garden market had been created using the design maps of the Livorno building!
The market stalls are also located outdoors on Piazza Felice Cavallottti, the one where the morning "fruit and vegetable market" takes place. The square, in my opinion, has nothing beautiful, but on the other hand, a few meters away you can find the best cake, the best friar and the best sandwich in the city.

-Ancient torteria at the market from Gagari, where can you? enjoy the exquisite chickpea pie or the typical 5 & 5: the sandwich with the chickpea pie what? It was conceived by the people of Livorno in the 30s and is called 5 and 5 due to the custom of asking cake makers for 5 lire of bread and 5 of cake. It is a French pan stuffed with chickpea pie and, if desired, aubergines in oil. It is located in via del Cardinale right in front of the market, you will not find the sign but the line of people! It is worth queuing up why? ? amazing!!!

-Il Frataio at the ancient fryer:? a small place that sells friars (typical Livorno donuts), donuts and scagliozzi prepared on the spot. I assure you that the hot friar? a delicacy!

-Osteria La Barrocciaia: a small restaurant with a typical atmosphere reminiscent of an old tavern in a city? port. The restaurant ? always crowded and does not take reservations, and as a sandwich shop? excellent! Here I ate the freshly prepared sandwich pi? good from all over Livorno! ... full of seasoning! The sandwiches are half or whole baguettes to be filled with the flavors that most? they inspire you from the open counter, with high quality cold cuts, aubergines, onions, courgettes, asparagus and any other type of vegetables, green sauce or other sauces.

Along Via di Franco we arrived at the cathedral.
-The duomo or cathedral of San Francesco is located in Piazza Grande, what was the center of the city? in the shape of a pentagon, designed by Bernardo Buontalenti in the sixteenth century at the behest of the Medici.
We turned right and strolled along via Grande, the shopping street, until we reached Piazza della Repubblica.

-Republic square:
made between 1838 and 1845,? in reality? a large bridge that rises above the Fosso Reale. 80 meters wide and 240 meters long,? the bridge pi? off Europe. The square ? surrounded by lampposts, marble benches and columns for stopping horses, it was originally a meeting place for carriages and for the exchange of goods. IS? also called by the people of Livorno? il Voltone? or piazza dei Granduchi for the two statues of Leopoldo II and Ferdinand III of Lorraine.

From the square? possible to admire the New Fortress. Turning onto Viale degli affidorati (at the end of the square on the left) we entered to take a ride in the park.

-The New Fortress:
Today the fortress? a public park, the entrance? free and from its internal gardens you can? enjoy a suggestive view on the ancient Fosso Reale.
In 1576 the Grand Duke of Tuscany Francesco I De Medici commissioned? to Architect Buontalenti the design of a new city? for his reign which was to be the great emporium of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany on the seas. Did the Grand Duke want to found a city? new that guaranteed him dominion over the seas and at the same time embody the values ​​of the Renaissance, a city? ideal.
Buontalenti design? an inhabited area enclosed by a pentagon-shaped wall and surrounded by ditches, incorporating the Old Fortress to the west and building the New Fortress to the east.
The New Fortress was built between 1590 and 1594 based on a design by Giovanni de? Medici, Vincenzo Bonanni and Bernardo Buontalenti, and completed in 1603 with the excavation of the moat that surrounds it, carried out by slaves and farmers.
At this point the need arose to populate the new city. A thousand inhabitants (how many there were at the time), would not have been sufficient to guarantee the carrying out of all the activities that a port at the height of what the Medici imagined required.
Did he think about this? Ferdinando I de Medici with the enactment of the Livornine Laws. These were an invitation to settle in the city, promising freedom. of cult, of custom and of free thought, the cancellation of taxes, debts and criminal record. Did it arise? an influx of all the religious, political and racial persecuted, who could safely continue their activity in Livorno? merchant. Also thanks to the free port, there was an increase in commercial traffic and the city? it became a crossroads of different cultures, languages, religions and customs. People from different states who were not guests but became the identity? founding of the city.

- Venice:
The strong demographic increase brought? to the need? to expand the urban area, and at the end of the seventeenth century the Fortezza Nuova was partly demolished to make room for the development of the Venezia Nuova district, with the aim of creating a merchant district for loading, unloading and storage of goods, placed live communication with the port. On the part of the destroyed fortress, new roads and new buildings were built for the more families. in sight and for the foreign consuls who resided there and became the commercial center of the city. The result? an evocative neighborhood, full of bridges and navigable canals, through which the barges that transported goods passed.
During our tour of the neighborhood I looked around, imagining the life of the time among the residences of consuls, shopkeepers and merchants, and the continuous coming and going of goods, among the cellars full of products from all sources.
From the San Giovanni Nepomuceno Bridge, we continued the walk along via Borra, the most important road. large and elegant, full of historic buildings such as the Palazzo del Monte di Piet?, the Palazzo delle Colonne and the Palazzo Huigens; then through the Dominicans' Bridge we arrived at the Church of Santa Caterina. Via Scali del Rifugio and via Scali Rosciano are also part of the district.
You can stop for lunch in one of the many typical places you will find in this area. We went back to the parking lot to get the car and went to eat a hamburger at La Banda del panino; the local ? spartan but the hamburgers are good.
After lunch we went to Piazza Giuseppe Micheli, home to the famous Monument of the Quattro Mori, another symbol of Livorno.

-The statue of the 4 Moors:
The statue celebrates the victories of Grand Duke Ferdinando I De Medici over the Barbary corsairs who raided the Tuscan coasts, but the figures chained to its pedestal, the four Moors, give it its name. These were added to the marble statue made by Giovanni Bandini only at a later time and were made in bronze by Pietro Tacca.
Is there a point in the square from which? It is possible to observe the nose of all four Moors at the same time and which is said to bring good luck.

Then we went to the Mascagni Terrace. We had a Fiori Rosa yoghurt ice cream and enjoyed it while admiring the sea from the terrace.

- Mascagni Terrace:
one of the most? large terraces overlooking the sea of ​​Europe,? in reality? a park with its gazebo in the center. With an area of ​​8.700 square meters, it stands out for its black and white checkerboard floor and for its large balustrade made up of white concrete columns.
This place at sunset offers unique views!
Years ago I had an aperitif on the terrace on the top floor of the Grand Hotel Palazzo (located just opposite) and I remember a wonderful view of the Mascagni Terrace with a breathtaking sunset. I advise you to go why? you can enjoy a wonderful view!

-Hotel Palazzo was built by Bernardo Fabbricotti and inaugurated in June 1894 with the name of Grand Hotel Splats.
In the first decades of the nineteenth century, thanks to the development of seaside tourism, Livorno had become a popular destination for the Italian and international bourgeoisie. The opening of numerous bathing establishments favored the rise of some important accommodation facilities, including the Palazzo hotel, also known as the Palace Hotel.





2 day

Sunday September 6th

We spent the morning visiting the Giovanni Fattori Civic Museum.
I went with the only interest to see the works related to the Macchiaioli movement, but I was pleasantly surprised from inside the villa.
Villa Mimbelli? a nineteenth-century private residence that still maintains the furnishings and decorations of the time unaltered. Really nice!


We didn't have time to see the Sanctuary of Montenero, an important sacred place dating back to the sixteenth century and a pilgrimage destination. His Madonna? patron saint of Tuscany and miracles have been attributed to him in particular among sailors. From Montenero, located in the hilly part, the view? magnificent over the whole city? of Livorno in front of the immensity? of the sea.

After lunch we left to return to Como.



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