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).
The entrance to the former Orlando shipyard marks the beginning of the long stretch of road that runs south along the coast. Founded by Luigi Orlando in 1866, the shipyard represented an important part of the local economy in Livorno for many years. The whole area is now being redeveloped with new apartments and shops and is known as the Porta a Mare with Benetti luxury yacht builders where the old shipyard used to be.
Just south of here is the Scoglio della Regina (literally, 'the Queen's rock), a 19th-century bathing establishment which used to be patronised by the Queen of Etruria, Maria Luisa of Bourbon from whom it took its name. It is situated on a small island connected to the coast by a bridge. The building has recently been restored and extended with the addition of a modern centre for research into marine robotics.
The palm-tree lined Viale Italia offers various cafés, bars and restaurants, on both sides of the road, including those housed in the baracchine which open until late in the evening. The promenade is populated by joggers, walkers and cyclists alike and is a popular place with locals.
Just a few minutes further along the road is the splendid Terrazza Mascagni, a sweeping balustraded terrace overlooking the sea, also popular for family strolls. The gazebo in the centre of the terrace was added in the late 1990s to replace the original one dating from 1935. It is just off the coast here that the Palio Marinaro boat race takes place on the first Sunday in July. On clear days you can see the islands of Gorgona and Elba from here.
On the north end of the Terrazza Mascagni is the Aquarium of Livorno which reopened in 2010 after major refurbishment.
Opposite the Terrazza is one of Livorno's oldest hotels, the Hotel Palazzo, a huge 19th-century construction which used to be the city's most elegant and exclusive hotel in the late 1800s. Having stood empty for many years, it re-opened again in 2008 after getting a complete facelift and is now Livorno's only five-star hotel.
Just beyond the Terrazza is one of Livorno's oldest bathing lidos, Pancaldi, still one of the most popular with locals. It was opened in 1846. A stroll past Pancaldi will bring you to the square called Piazza San Jacopo in Acquaviva (on the left) with its bronze statue of Benedetto Brin, founder of the Naval Academy.
On the right stands the Church of San Jacopo, exposed to the wind and the sea.
Right next to the church is Livorno's Naval Academy which was founded in 1881 and is still one of the most important in Italy, training cadets for the Italian Navy. It was built on the site of the former lazzaretto used for the quarantine of sailors arriving from abroad in the 17th and 18th centuries. The track along the side of the Academy, lined on one side by the Academy's green and yellow railings, is a popular jogging route along the seafront.