Bridge in the Venezia district Bridge in the Venezia district

Construction of Livorno's Venezia district was begun in 1629 to allow for the expansion of the city's population. Plans for the new district were designed by Sienese architect Giovanni Battista Santi. Because of the canals, and the need to employ building techniques imported from Venice, the area came to be known as the 'Nuova Venezia' ('new Venice').  

A second phase of expansion took place in the 1700s when important buildings like the Bottini dell'Olio - a storehouse for oil, now housing the Museo della Città - were built (Piazza del Luogo Pio).

It was also in this area that many of the foreign merchants who had settled in the city had their private residences built. On the lower level they would have their warehouses which opened onto the canal so that their goods could be easily delivered from the ships in the port.

Just one example of these is the Palazzo Huigens in Via Borra, constructed as a residence for the wealthy German merchant Antonio Huigens. It is worth taking a look at the internal courtyard with its unusual interior walkways that now connect the various offices that occupy the building.

Interior of Palazzo Huigens, Via Borra
Interior of Palazzo Huigens, Via Borra

Work was also begun on the two important churches: the Church of San Ferdinando and the Church of Santa Caterina

The Palazzo della Dogana (now the Livorno Chamber of Commerce building, in Via San Giovanni, facing Piazza del Municipio) was also built during this period. 

Vivi la Venezia Facebook group

To see more images of the Nuova Venezia district, click here

For a self-guided walking tour, click here

For information about the Effetto Venezia festival, click here