The Strange Case of the Missing Historic Sights
The city of Livorno has dozens and dozens of places of historical significance, yet no more than five of them are marked on the official city map distributed by Livorno's Tourist Information Office to the hundreds of visitors that disembark in Livorno daily from cruise ships.
As reported by Matteo Giunti of the Livorno delle Nazioni cultural association in the Facebook groups Salviamo l'Antico Cimitero Inglese and Salviamo la Chiesa Olandese, the official tourist map of Livorno is seriously lacking in valuable information that could, and should, be helping visitors to discover the city of Livorno and its history. These Facebook groups are concerned primarily with two places of fundamental importance to the history of Livorno - the Old English Cemetery (in Via Verdi) and the Dutch-German Church (on the Scali degli Olandesi) (neither of which are marked on the map) - but there are many many more places of historical, architectural and artistic interest in the city.
The official Livorno map shows just five historic points of interest in the city centre: the Fortezza Vecchia, the covered Food Market, the Fortezza Nuova, the Quattro Mori monument, and the Cisternone. Just two of the city's numerous historic churches are shown - the Duomo (a post-war reconstruction) and the modern Synagogue. A short description is given of the Fortezza Vecchia, the Market, the Venezia quarter (not even indicated on the map) and the seafront promenade.
Of all the other historic sights that Livorno possesses there is no sign at all!
Where, for example, are the churches of Santa Caterina, San Ferdinando, Santa Giulia, and Santa Maria del Soccorso? Where are the lovely palazzi, like the 19th-century Palazzo de Larderel and Palazzo della Gherardesca (via Galilei)? Where is Modigliani's birthplace? And where are the ancient graveyards, some almost as old as Livorno itself, and a testimony to the foreign communities (British, Dutch, Greek, German, Armenian and Jewish) that flourished in Livorno in the 17th-19th centuries and helped to create the city that we see today?
Why are visitors being provided with such scant information that leaves them inevitably wandering aimlessly around Piazza Grande, when Livorno has a wealth of cultural heritage to share? If the authorities themselves ignore what Livorno has to offer, what chance do our visitors have? And this at a time when, more than ever, Livorno so badly needs to be noticed and appreciated by those who come through the city, for however brief a time. It is a shame and a disgrace that visitors to the city should not even be aware that there is so much more to explore in Livorno.
Here is my attempt, with the help of Google Maps, to provide a more helpful map of the city.
View Livorno City Centre in a larger map