Eat Your Way around Livorno!
If you are a lover of Italian food, or just food in general, you can easily spend a day or a weekend in Livorno making your way around a selection of the many cafés, bars, restaurants and market stalls sampling some of the local gourmet specialities. After all, Italian life rotates around food, so you cannot leave without trying at least a few of the great things to eat and drink.
From the Orlando Shipyard to the Naval Academy.
If the weather is favourable and you feel like heading out of town, a walk along the seafront of Livorno is well worth the effort. There are numerous points of interest along the coast road that starts just past the old Orlando shipyards, south of the city. For most of the way there is also a cycle path so you could even use pedal power! (bike hire from Greenbike).
Further south from the Naval Academy lies the district known as Ardenza, a part of which lies along the coast - 'Ardenza Mare' - and a part inland - 'Ardenza Terra'. Ardenza Terra is a busy shopping area along a main road, serving the local population. Ardenza Mare is a popular summer meeting place for all ages, as well as a busy place for afternoon strolls all year round.
There has been a considerable Jewish community in Livorno since the 17th century, at one time representing 10% of the population. At a time when the persecution of Jews was taking place elsewhere, Livorno represented a haven where people of the Jewish faith could practice their religion freely, build their own synagogue, buy property and, most unusually, were not confined to a ghetto.
About five miles to the south of the city of Livorno lies the hillside village of Montenero and the Santuario di Montenero that attracts countless visitors throughout the year.
It is well worth visiting for the views over the city and the coastline, and for the interesting sanctuary which grew up around the sacred image of the Madonna di Montenero, brought here by a shepherd in the 14th century. The present building dates from the 18th century.
Apart from Sundays when it is at its busiest, it is a quiet place to retreat to from the city.
Known in Livorno as the Antico Cimitero degli Inglesi, or the Old English Cemetery, the monumental cemetery in Via Verdi dates from the 1640s and is the oldest of its kind in the whole of Italy, probably in the whole of the Mediterranean area. The people buried in the cemetery were protestants of several nationalities who were living or staying in Livorno and other parts of Italy during the 17th, 18th and first part of the 19th century. Many of them played an important part in the development of the city and port of Livorno. In 1840 the cemetery was closed down following the expansion of the city walls, and a New English Cemetery was opened outside the walls (Via Pera).
Via della Madonna is a partly-pedestrianised street in the centre of Livorno, running between Via Grande at one end and the Scali del Vescovado, in the Venezia district, at the other, and divided in two by Via degli Avvalorati.
On the Via Grande side, the street contains three very significant old churches whose history reflects the cosmopolitan history of Livorno itself - the facade of the former San Gregorio Illuminatore, founded by the Armenian community in 1714, Santissima Annunziata (the Greek United Church) built in 1601, and the church of the Madonna (1607) with its altars dedicated to the French, Corsican, Portuguese and Dutch communities.
Livorno's "Little Venice"
Away from the busy streets of the town centre, the Venezia district - Livorno's version of 'little Venice' - offers a glimpse of historic Livorno as it was in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the port of Livorno was developing as one of the most important in the Mediterranean and the new city was inhabited by many foreign communities who set up business here.
Livorno continues its tribute to poet Giorgio Caproni in this centenary year of his birth with a series of walks around the city taking in places mentioned in Caproni's poems. The itinerary is marked by nine 'totems' designed by Anna Laura Bachini, each of which bears the poem that mentions the site on which it stands.
These are the sites of the Caproni panels around Livorno:
IT'S EASIER THAN YOU THINK!
The cheapest way to get around Livorno -check out bus routes for the numbers 1 & 2
There is no easier or cheaper way to explore Livorno than by using the local CTT bus service. There are 15 different bus routes covering the whole of the city and the surrounding districts, and for just €3 (the cost of a one-day Livorno Card) you can get unlimited local bus travel for a whole day, hopping on and off any bus whenever and wherever you please (plus free entrance to the Fattori art gallery and other discounts).