In order to populate his new city, in 1591-2 Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinando de’ Medici passed a series of laws, known as the Leggi Livornine, primarily intended to invite Sephardi Jews fleeing persecution in Spain and Portugal to settle in the city. The laws guaranteed religious tolerance, as well as financial benefits to those who set up business in Livorno, thus encouraging foreign merchants from all over Europe to settle here.
Livorno's foundation as a city and the important role of its foreign communities
The Medici ruled over Florence and most of Tuscany for more than three centuries, but their dynasty finally came to an end with the death of Gian Gastone in 1737.
Napoleon occupied Livorno three times between 1796 and 1800, with the intention of ruining the port’s chances of competing with Marseilles, and of seizing the wealth belonging to the British community in the city.
After the French occupation, the Lorraines were returned to power and under their rule the city of Livorno was extended, with the building of new gateways and squares, public buildings such as the Goldoni Theatre (originally called the Teatro Leopoldo) in 1847, and churches such as San Benedetto in 1819, the Anglican church of St George in 1844, the Presbyterian St Andrew's in 1849, and the Dutch-German Church in 1864.
In 1865 a man called Luigi Orlando founded what was to form the basis of Livorno’s economy well