A Fascinating Look Inside the Cisternone - the huge 19th-century water cistern in Viale Carducci, Livorno

Looking up at the Cisternone in Viale Carducci, LivornoLooking up at the Cisternone in Viale Carducci, Livorno 11 January 2008. This morning at 10am a group of about 50 people armed with umbrellas gathered outside the Cisternone in Via de Lardarel, Livorno, for the special opening and guided tour of the 19th-century building organised by the Comune di Livorno and the Cooperativa Amaranta Service. The group was met by Gilda from Amaranta who explained the history of the Cisternone and showed the group around.

View of the Imposing Half-Dome on top of the CisternoneView of the Imposing Half-Dome on top of the Cisternone It was designed by architect Pasquale Poccianti and constructed between 1830-42 in the neo-Classical style as part of the project to improve water supplies to Livorno which, in addition to local demand, also had to meet the requirements of the the many ships docking in the port. The Cisternone is in fact a huge water tank built to collect water coming from Colognole, inland from Livorno. Its most impressive feature is the half-dome which dominates the piazza, clearly inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. The cistern still functions today, providing part of the city's water supply. The interior is surprisingly atmospheric, the water tank surrounded by pillars and attractive rib vaults. At the bottom of the tank a half-hidden inscription reminds us of Leopold's grand aquaduct project connecting Colognole with Livorno.
The guided tour of the Cisternone is one in a series of guided tours around various places of interest in Livorno organised by the Comune and Amaranta. For details of the next and other tours, see the What's On section of Livorno Now.