The Medici-built Fortezza Nuova, or 'new fortress' - situated on the boundary of the Venezia quarter of Livorno - is so-called because it was erected later than the Fortezza Vecchia ('old fortress'), but its construction dates to the late-16th century when the architect Buontalenti was entrusted by the Medici Grand Duke with the task of planning the new city of Livorno. Initially the plans did not include the building of a completely new fortress, but in around 1589 it was decided that the city's military defense system should be expanded and so the fortress was built.
A significant landmark in Livorno's history and on today's city landscape, the Fortezza Nuova was jointly designed by Bernardo Buontalenti, Don Giovanni De' Medici, Claudio Cogorano and Alessandro Pieroni (who also designed the Church of the Madonna, the Greek Uniate church, the original Synagogue, the porticos around Piazza Grande, and collaborated on the construction of the cathedral).
At the end of the 1600s, however, much of the original construction was dismantled to make way for new building in the Venezia district. At that time, a new defensive structure, Forte San Pietro, was erected to defend the Venezia quarter.
Over the centuries the Fortezza Nuova was used as a military barracks and for storage, but during the Second World War a large part of its internal structures were destroyed by bombings.
These days it is a public park with some interesting views over the canals and the Piazza della Repubblica. Within the grounds of the fortress, near the entrance, is the Sala degli Archi, used for temporary exhibitions.
Open until sunset daily
More photos here
The Fortezza Vecchia