Tomorrow, Wednesday 27th July 2016, sees the start of this year's Effetto Venezia, the 31st edition of the annual summer festival which takes place in Livorno's Venezia quarter. Pared down to just 5 days this year (from 10-12 days in the past), the event aims to focus on "urban decorum", calling on citizens' sense of respect for their own city.
To underline this, for the first time in the history of the event, visitors will be able to make use of a large designated FREE parking area at the Modigliani Forum (zona Porta a Terra), from where free shuttle buses will run back and forth to the Venezia area, thus hopefully reducing the massive congestion that has always put a negative slant on the event.
The shuttle bus service- which will run about every 15 minutes until 1am on 27th and 31st July, until 2am on 28th July, and until 3am on 29th and 30th July - will also make a stop in Piazza Masi, behind Livorno Centrale train station to serve those arriving by public transport.
Pay parking will still be available at the various car parks around the Venezia area and in the city centre: STP in Via della Cinta Esterna (30 cents per hour), Piazza Unità d'Italia (1 euro per hour after 8pm to a max of 3 euros), Parcheggio Moderno, Parcheggio Odeon.
Within the city, the new free evening bus service (numbers 8N and 8R, and services A and B) will also be running from 8.30pm until about midnight.
Cyclists will be able to make use of a special guarded bike parking area in Piazza dei Legnami, another first for the festival
So, once you've arrived, what should you head for? Apart from the many eateries that will line the canals throughout the area, there is a host of events planned for the 5 days. Here are some of the highlights:
Skateboarding in Piazza del Luogo Pio by the Kiss the Rail association
Bad Elf Beer Garden on the lawn in front of the Fortezza Nuova, with live Irish music at 9pm nightly
Cristallofonia - in the magical surroundings of Palazzo Huigens at Via Borra 35, every evening at 9pm and 11pm
Thursday 28th July: The Joyful Gospel Choir, uplifting sounds in Fortezza Vecchia at 9.30pm
Friday 29th July: Concert SVS Band around the streets of Venezia, starting in Largo Strozzi at 8.30pm
Saturday 30th July: TINARIWEN with their Tuareg traditions and lively sounds, Piazza del Luogo Pio at 10pm
Dimitri Jazz Folklore opening for Tinariwen on the Piazza del Luogo Pio stage at 9pm
Inauguration 27th July at 7.30pm at the Church of San Ferdinando, Piazza del Luogo Pio, where Livorno's mayor Filippo Nogarin will cut the ribbon to open the festival. Followed by concert by the Corale Mascagni choir.