The major port of Livorno is located on the Ligurian sea on the western coast of Tuscany. This charming city offers a beautiful contrast of old and new, stretching from the quaint harbour at Livorno Aquarium with it's candy coloured buildings, to the gigantic commercial port, which is a major dropping off point for the many cruise and commercial ships that pass through the area.
Surrounded by Renaissance towers and fortified walls, this fantastic city, with its melting pot of architecture, ancient historical sites and beautiful coastline is just waiting to be explored.
What to do
Livorno is the perfect city for exploring on foot; strolling around its many historical sites whilst soaking up its bustling atmosphere. Start off at the New Fort. Deceptively named, the fort was constructed in the mid to late 1500s. Surrounded on all sides by a canal, it is an impressive structure of ancient walls and battlements, much of which remains impressively intact. It is possible to explore several of the fort's passages and battlements as well as the beautiful, central gardens and grounds.
Next move onto the area surrounding the fort, loving known as Nuova Venezia (new Venice) This delightful area offers canal lined streets criss-crossed by small bridges reminiscent of it's northern counterpart. It really is a magical place and worth exploring for its unique atmosphere.
The wide seafront promenade known as Terezza Mascagni is distinctive for its black and white chequerboard paving. Stretching along the coastline you will find it filled with dog walkers, joggers and tourists, enjoying the views and fine weather. Also located on the Terazza is Livorno's Aquarium offering beautifully displayed sea-life.
For a slice of local life, don't miss Livorno's central market. Located in a late 19th century building near Piazza Cavour, this is the perfect place to sample local cheeses and salamis as well as stocking up for a picnic on one of Livorno's surrounding beaches.
What to eat
Livorno is a real foodie destination, famed for its many outstanding seafood restaurants offering unfussy local delicacies and cuisine. Stop by any one of the traditional eateries to sample the delicious local dish of Cacciucco, a poor man's soup of shellfish, squid and today's catch, all served in a spicy tomato and garlic soup poured over stale bread.
For the freshest catch try Osteria del Mare, located in the old port this simple restaurant serves only the day's locally caught fresh fish, offered on a platter by old school waiters before being returned to the kitchen to prepare.
For hearty local cuisine try La Barrocciaia, this lively, homely restaurant offers simple flavour packed stews of the sea and land.
For wine lovers try Cantina Nardi, this long established restaurant boasts a 400 bottle wine list, over 100 of them served by the glass. This is one of the cities best apperitivo spots where you can sit between the bottle lined shelves or on one of the street side tables watching the world go by.
How to get there
Many people arrive in Livorno by one of the many ships that visit the area. From the port it is about a mile into the old historic centre and taxis can be found right by the dock area to take you into town.
There is a fast and frequent train service from Florence as well as Pisa, located just 15 minutes away. The nearest airport is located at Pisa (10km) from where it is quick and easy to take a taxi or train into town. You can also fly into Florence (47km) and again take one of the frequent trains into town.
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