Benci Centro - known more simply as il Centro - was the new name given to this central part of Livorno by town planners to replace its old title - Rione del Mercato -, which is still sometimes used today. This central area of Livorno also has a nickname – Ovo Sodo (boiled egg) – because of the yellow and white jerseys worn by the rowing team. The name was adopted as the title of a film set in Livorno directed by the Livornese Paolo Virzì in 1997.
The shops and market stalls which used to be in Piazza Grande were moved to Piazza delle Erbe, now Piazza Cavallotti, in 1634. It was only natural that in 1894 the new covered market should be built in this area already dedicated to trade. The Central Market is still one of the finest in Italy.
After the second World War, the shopping area was extended to Piazza XX Settembre and the surrounding area.
As well as the market, the district contains the Duomo, the Church of Santa Giulia, the Church of San Benedetto, the Dutch Church (dating from 1861), the statue of the Granduca Leopoldo II (in Piazza Venti Settembre) inaugurated in 1848 (the work of sculptor Paolo Emilio Demi), as well as numerous banks and offices.