The origin of Livorno is dubious, although the place was inhabited since the Neolithic Age as shown by worked bones, pieces of copper and ceramic found on the Livorno Hills in a cave between Ardenza and Montenero. The construction of the Via Aurelia coincided with the occupation of the region by the Romans, who left traces of their presence in the toponyms and ruins of towers. The natural cove called Liburna, later transformed in Livorna then in Livorno, is a reference to the type of ship, the liburna, used by Roman navy. Others ancient toponyms include: Salviano (Salvius), Antignano (Ante ignem) which was the place situated before Ardenza (Ardentia) where were the beacons for the ships directed to Porto Pisano.
The name Livorna is mentioned for the first time in 1017 as a small coastal village, the port and the remains of a Roman tower. In 1077 a tower was built by Matilda of Tuscany. The Republic of Pisa possessed Livorno from 1103 and built there a quadrangular Fort called Quadratura dei Pisani ("Quarter of the Pisans") in defence of the port. Porto Pisano was destroyed after the crushing defeat of the Pisan fleet in the Battle of Meloria in 1284. Livorno was bought in 1399 by the Visconti of Milan, then was sold to the Republic of Genoa in 1405 and afterwards was bought definitively from Republic of Florence on August 28, 1421.
Between 1427 and 1429, the census was held. According to the results of the census, there were 118 families in Livorno, which made 423 persons. Monks, Jews, military personnel, and the homeless were not included in the census. In 1551 the population was 1562 residents, in 1745 it had risen to 32,534 and in 1861 at the Unification of Italy was 96,471 inhabitants. The only remainder of medieval Livorno is a fragment of two towers and a wall, located inside the Fortezza Vecchia.
After the arrival of the Medici, the ruling dynasty of Florence, some modifications were made, in particular, the Fortezza Vecchia was constructed between 1518 and 1534, and the voluntary resettlement of the population to Livorno was stimulated, but Livorno still remained a rather insignificant coastal fortress.
Livorno was designed as an "Ideal town" during the Italian Renaissance, when it was ruled by the Grand Duchy of Tuscany of the House of Medici. The first plan was drawn by the architect Bernardo Buontalenti in 1577, the new fortified town had a pentagon plant, for this reason is called Pentagono del Buontalenti, incorporating the original settlement. The Porto Mediceo was overlooked and defended by towers and fortresses leading to the town centre.
In the late 1580s, Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, declared Livorno a free port (porto franco), which meant that the goods traded here were duty-free within the area of the town's control. To regulate this trade, in 1593 the Duke's administration established the Leggi Livornine. These laws were in force until 1603, until the beginning of the Counter-Reformation. The laws established a well-regulated market, protecting merchant activities from crime and racketeering, and instituted laws regarding international trade.
Additionally, expanding Christian tolerance, the laws offered the right of public freedom of religion and amnesty to people having to gain penance given by clergy in order to conduct civil business. The Grand Duke attracted numerous Turks, Persians, Moors, Greeks, and Armenians, along with Jewish immigrants, beginning in the late sixteenth century with the Alhambra Decree, which resulted in the expulsion from Spain and Portugal, and extended them rights and privileges; they contributed to the mercantile wealth and scholarship in the city.
Livorno became an enlightened European city and one of the most important ports of the entire Mediterranean Basin. Many European foreigners moved to Livorno. These included Christian Protestant reformers who supported such leaders as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others. French, Dutch, and English arrived, along with Orthodox Greeks. Meanwhile, Jews continued to trade under their previous treaties with the Grand Duke. On 19 March 1606, Ferdinando I de' Medici elevated Livorno to the rank of city; the ceremony was held in the Fortezza Vecchia Chapel of Francis of Assisi.
The Counter-Reformation increased tensions among Christians; dissidents to the Papacy were targeted by various Catholic absolute rulers. Livorno's tolerance fell victim to the European wars of religion. But, in the preceding period, the merchants of Livorno had developed a series of trading networks with Protestant Europe, and the Dutch, British, and Germans worked to retain these.
At the end of the 17th century, Livorno underwent a period of great urban planning and expansion. Near the defensive pile of the Old Fortress, a new fortress was built, together with the town walls and the system of navigable canals through neighborhoods. After the port of Pisa silted up in XIII° century, its distance from the sea was increased and it lost its dominance in trade. Livorno took over as the main port in Tuscany.
The more successful of the European powers re-established trading houses in the region, especially the British with the Levant Company. In turn, the trading networks grew, and with it, Britain's cultural contact with Tuscany. An increasing number of British writers, artists, philosophers, and travelers visited the area and developed the unique historical ties between the two communities. The British referred to the city as Leghorn.
Through the centuries, the city's trade fortunes fell and rose according to the success or failure of the Great Powers. The British and their Protestant allies were important to its trade.
The first American-born saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton converted from Protestantism to Catholicism while visiting Italian friends in Livorno in the early 19th century.
During the Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars of the late Eighteenth century, Napoleon's troops occupied Livorno with the rest of Tuscany. Under the Continental System, the French prohibited trade with Britain, and the economy of Livorno suffered greatly. The French had altogether taken over Tuscany in 1808, incorporating it into the Napoleonic empire. After the Congress of Vienna, Austrian rule replaced the French.
In 1861, Italy succeeded in its wars of unification, and Livorno and Tuscany became part of the new Kingdom of Italy. Livorno lost its status as a free port and the city's commercial importance declined.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Livorno had numerous public parks housing important museums as Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori, Museo di storia naturale del Mediterraneo, and cultural institutions as the Biblioteca Labronica F.D. Guerrazzi and other in Neoclassical style as Cisternone, Teatro Goldoni and Liberty style as Palazzo Corallo, Mercato delle Vettovaglie, Stabilimento termale Acque della Salute, the Scuole elementari Benci all the last on project by Angiolo Badaloni. In the 1930s were built numerous villas on the avenue along the sea in Liberty style on design by Cioni.
Livorno suffered extensive damage during the World War II. Many historic sites and buildings were destroyed by bombs of the Allies preceding their invasion, including the cathedral and the synagogue. Livorno's citizens in recent decades have become well known for their left-wing politics. The Italian Communist Party was founded in Livorno in 1921.
Livorno has a hot-summer mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa). Summers have warm days with the heat lingering on throughout the night, hence going above the subtropical threshold in spite of its relatively high latitude. Winters are mild for the latitude due to the influence from the Mediterranean Sea. Precipitation is in a wet winter/dry summer-pattern as with all climates fitting the mediterranean definition.
Ferdinando II de' Medici considered, in 1629, the opportunity to enlarge the town, on project by Giovanni Battista Santi, toward north in an area included among Fortezza Vecchia and Fortezza Nuova, in order to give an adequate space to the maritime and commercial activities. There was the need to build a mercantile district, close to Porto Mediceo, provided with houses and depots to store the merchandise and a system of canals to facilitate their transport. The new rione (district), called Venezia Nuova, was built in an area gained to the sea, intersected by canals and linked to the town with bridges, for this reason Venetians skilled workers were recruited.
The Chiesa di Sant'Anna, dedicated to Saint Anne, was built in 1631 on the ground of the Arch confraternity of the Company of the Nativity; in the same year Giovanni Battista Santi died and the control of the project passed to Giovanni Francesco Cantagallina though the works slowed down due to the lack of funds.
A new impulse to the works was given in 1656 concerning the distribution of the spaces where to build other houses and stores; consequently arose the problem of the diverse oriented road scheme respect to the axis of Piazza d’Arme, it was resolved adopting a road plan perpendicular to the Navicelli channel. The paving of the roads and along the canals in Venezia Nuova was provided in 1668, while the Pescheria Nuova (New fish-market) was built in 1705 close to the Scali del Pesce where the fish was unloaded.
In the 1700s Venezia Nuova was the district of the Consuls of the Nations and of the most important international retailers who had the warehouses filled with goods from everywhere waiting to be shipped by sea to the most different destinations. The palaces along the canals had the turrets from which to see the ships approaching the port, moreover they had the stores at the canal level to facilitate the unloading of the goods from the boats.
The Venezia Nuova district retains much of its original town planning and architectural features such as the bridges, narrow lanes, the houses of the nobility, churches as Santa Caterina da Siena and San Ferdinando, and a dense network of canals that once served to link its warehouses to the port.
The Monument of the Four Moors is dedicated to Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and is one of the most popular monuments of Livorno. Ferdinando I commissioned it to Giovanni Bandini in 1595 to carry out a monument in white Carrara marble to represent him in the uniform of the Grand master of the Order of Saint Stephen which in that period prevailed in several naval battles against the Barbary pirates. The monument was completed in 1599, shortly before the death of Bandini which occurred on April 18, and arrived to Livorno by sea from Carrara in 1601.
Ferdinando I projected to add four statues of moors prisoners at the pedestal of his monument and gave the task to Pietro Tacca in 1602 but the monument remained in a corner of the square till May 29, 1617 when it was inaugurated by Cosimo II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. In the meantime Tacca received the approval to add the four moors to the pedestal; the first two statues were fused in Florence in 1622 and carried on the barges along the Arno to Livorno; according to the tradition the young moor was named Morgiano and the older Alì Salentino; the other two sculptures were installed in 1626. During the French occupation of Livorno, from 1796 to 1799, the monument was removed from Sextius Mollis commander of the French garrison because it represented an insult to the tyranny, as soon as the French left the town the monument was put back in its proper place.
During World war II the monument was transferred in a protected place in order to avoid to be damaged by allied attacks, the statue of Ferdinando I was hidden in the Pisa Charterhouse and the four moors in the Medici Villa at Poggio a Caiano. The monument has been restored recently in 1990 and 2013.
The Acquedotto Leopoldino and the neoclassical cisterns of Livorno were part of a sophisticated scheme to provide water to Livorno.
La Gran Conserva, or Il Cisternone, situated on what were the outskirts of 19th-century Livorno, is the largest and best known of the city's covered cisterns.
Cisternino di città is an austere neoclassical design which was approved in 1837 and completed in 1848.
At the beginning of the 19th century arose the need to connect the Medicean road system of the Pentagono del Buontalenti to the new eastern districts of the town, on the other side of the Fosso Reale, and the requirement to dismantle the city gate Porta a Pisa. The solution adopted in 1844 was that of Luigi Bettarini which considered the coverage of the Fosso Reale with an imposing vault, 240 meters long and 90 meters wide, creating an elliptical paving. The portion of canal covered by the new structure continued to be navigable.
The new square was commonly called Piazza del Voltone until 1850, then Piazza dei Granduchi in honour of the Lorraine dynasty until 1859, in the period of the Italian unification was named to Carlo Alberto until June 1946 when was given the current name Piazza della Repubblica. The square, adorned with 52 marble benches, 92 pillars and two statues dedicated to Ferdinand III by Francesco Pozzi was inaugurated on September 8, 1847 and that to Leopold II by Paolo Emilio Demi was installed on June 6, 1848. The statue of Leopoldo II was damaged by the crowd on May 6, 1849 and removed from the square because the Emperor was seen as the symbol of the Austrian domination; the statue was placed in Piazza XX Settembre in 1957.
The Terrazza Mascagni is a wide sinuous, suggestive belvedere toward the sea from which it is possible to admire the Livorno hills, the Tuscan Archipelago until the Corsica and the Port of Livorno. It take place where once was the Forte dei Cavalleggieri (Cavalrymen Fort) built in the 17th century by Cosimo I de' Medici to control the raids of the pirates, then in the 1800s a leisure park named “Eden” and in the early 1900s an heliotherapy centre. A new parterre, built in 1925 and completed in 1928 on project by Enrico Salvais and Luigi Pastore, was formed by a series of flower beds and a walkway which follow the outline of the sea with numerous balustrades named to Costanzo Ciano. The Terrazza has a paving surface of 8,700 square meters formed by 34,800 black and white tiles placed as a checkerboard and 4,100 balusters. In the large square were built in 1932 the Gazebo for the music, on project by Ghino Venturi, which was destroyed during World war II, and in 1937 the Livorno Aquarium. Immediately the war the Terrazza was dedicated to Mascagni and in 1994 underwent a complete restoration using the same kind of material originally employed; the works were completed on July 10, 1998 with the reconstruction of the “Gazebo for the music”.
Livorno was elevated to the status of city on March 19, 1606 by Ferdinando I de' Medici, the first Gonfaloniere Bernardetto Borromei and the Community representatives held their meetings in the Church of Saint Mary and Saint Julia. A house where to accommodate the Community, placed in Via del Porticciolo, was purchased on June 13, 1646 for the sum of seven thousand ducats, soon it was clear that the place was inadequate to the task and on January 27, 1720 the Council deliberated the construction of the new town hall on project by Giovanni del Fantasia. The new neo-renaissance palace, positioned between Palazzo della Dogana and Palazzo Granducale on the north side of Piazza d’Arme, was partially destroyed by the 1742 earthquake. Restored in 1745 by Bernardino Ciurini and Antonio Fabbri a double white marble stairway and a small bell tower on the top of the façade were added. In the 1867 the complex was enlarged with the acquisition of three other buildings at the back. With the settlement of the Podestà in the fascist period was carried out a new enlargement in 1929 by Enrico Salvais and Luigi Pastore transforming the adjacent former fire station in council hall. Damaged by the bombing during World war II it was rebuilt and renovated under the direction of Primavera and was inaugurated in 1949 by the mayor Furio Diaz.
The cathedral of the town, commonly called Duomo di Livorno, is dedicated to Francis of Assisi, Mary, mother of Jesus, and Julia of Corsica, and was built in a central position of the Pentagono del Buontalenti on the south side of Piazza Grande once named Piazza d’Arme. The original plan was drawn up by Bernardo Buontalenti when he projected the new town. The construction begun in June 1581 on a reviewed plan by Alessandro Pieroni under the direction by Antonio Cantagallina. The church had a rectangular plant with a single nave, the original wooden ceiling, executed from 1610 to 1614, was carved by Vincenzo Ricordati and gilded with seven inserted paintings. Jacopo Ligozzi, Domenico Cresti and Jacopo Chimenti decorated, from 1610 to 1614, three large paintings representing “Saint Francis with Child and the Virgin”, the “Assumption of Mary” and the “Apotheosis of Saint Julia”, the others four paintings were works by minor artists. The simply façade had a marble porch with twin Doric columns surmounted by a terrace added in 1605 on project by Alessandro Pieroni.
The church was consecrated on February 19, 1606 by Monsignor Nunzio Antonio Grimani; on request by Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, in 1629, was elevated to collegiate church and the Curato was substituted from a Proposto having the functions of the Vicar of the archbishop of Pisa. The plant of the church was modified in Christian cross when in 1716 was added the first of two lateral chapels. The left side chapel, dedicated to the Eucharist, was built on project by Giovanni del Fantasia with frescoes by Giovanni Maria Terreni and the altar attributed to Giovanni Baratta, The right side chapel, dedicated to Immaculate Conception, was built in 1727 and was decorated with paintings by Luigi Ademollo. The Collegiata in 1806 was elevated to cathedral and in 1817 was added the bell tower 50 meter high on project by Gaspero Pampaloni. The cathedral was completely destroyed in 1943 from the allied bombardment during World war II; it was then rebuilt respecting the original structure except for the two marble porches added to the transepts and was consecrated on December 21, 1952 by Bishop Giovanni Piccioni.
Since 2006, on the occasion of the bicentennial of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Livorno, the “Christ Crowned with Thorns”, by Fra Angelico, was displayed in the Chapel of the Eucharist.
The Church of the Madonna is placed on the homonymous street which connect directly the city centre with the district Venezia Nuova through the John of Nepomuk bridge. According to the tradition the church was built to host the statute of Our Lady of Mount Carmel subtracted from a Turkish ship. The church was important as it was a place of worship for foreigners communities. Ferdinando I de' Medici gave the church to the Franciscan which had the nearby Oratory of Saints Cosmas and Damian. The construction begun on March 25, 1607 on project by Alessandro Pieroni and was completed in 1611; the church at first was dedicated to Saint Mary, Saint Francis and Saints Cosmas and Damian but in 1638 was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception following an enlargement of the building.
The church has a rectangular plant with a single nave and groin vault, on each side there are the three altars of the foreigner Nations. The altar of the French Nation was built in 1613 and the painting, by Matteo Rosselli, represents Saint Louis. The altar of the Corsica Nation, which at the time was under the Republic of Genoa, has a painting representing John the Evangelist. The altar of the Portuguese Nation built in the 17th century had a wooden statue of Saint Mary until 1728 when this was positioned near the main altar and replaced by one of Anthony of Padua. The altar of the Dutch-German Nation is dedicated to Andrew the Apostle. Outside the body of the building, separated by a railing, is a Chapel dedicate to the Madonna di Montenero built in 1631. The simple façade was covered in white marble in 1972
The Church of the Most Holy Annunciation take place in the central street of Via della Madonna, no far from the Armenian community Church of Gregory the Illuminator and the Church of the Madonna. The church is called Unite Greeks too because was the worship place for the Greek community of Byzantine Rite once lived in Livorno. At the end of 16th century numerous Greeks came to Tuscany to take service aboard the galleys of the Order of Saint Stephen. The church was built in 1601 on project by Alessandro Pieroni, was completed in 1605 and consecrated on March 25, 1606. The baroque façade was built in 1708 presumably on project by Giovanni Baratta with a triangular pediment and Doric order and was decorated by the statues of Meekness and Innocence by Andrea Vaccà. The interior has a single nave and the ceiling is adorned by a coffer structure with a central painting representing the Annunciation by Giovanni Domenico Ferretti (1750). The precious wooden Iconostasis in Byzantine style date back to 1641 and has three doors painted by Agostino Wanonbrachen in 1751; on the central door is represented the Most Holy Annunciation and Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, John Chrysostom and Athanasius of Alexandria; in the right door is painted the Nativity of Jesus and the four Apostles, in the left door is represented the Adoration of the Shepherds. The church was entirely destroyed by the bombings during World war II and the restoration was completed in 1985.
The Church of Saint Caterina is a baroque church in the centre of Livorno, in Venezia Nuova district.
San Ferdinando is a Baroque style, Roman Catholic church located in Venezia Nuova district next to the Piazza del Luogo Pio.
San Giovanni Battista is a Baroque-Mannerist style, Roman Catholic church located at the crossing of Via San Giovanni and Via Carraia in central Livorno.
Santa Maria del Soccorso is a Neoclassical-style Marian votive church in central Livorno. The tall brick church façade is located scenically at the end of Via Magenta, and has a park surrounding it. In front is a Monument to Fallen Soldiers (caduti) in the first World War.
The Old English Cemetery is the oldest foreign Protestant burial ground in Italy. It was founded around 1645 and contains over 300 Carrara marble graves of notable people from 10 different nationalities. Tobias Smollett and Francis Horner were buried here, but also some of the friends of Byron and Shelley and the husband of Saint Elizabeth Seton. The cemetery was closed in 1839 and a new one, still active, was opened.
Up in the hills the Sanctuary of Montenero, dedicated to Our Lady of Graces, the patron saint of Tuscany, is a destination for pilgrims. It is famous for the adjacent gallery, decorated with ex-voto, chiefly related to events of miraculous rescues of people at sea.
The Temple of the Dutch German Congregation, known more simply as the Dutch German Church, is situated in Livorno, on the stretch of the Fosso Reale canal that runs between Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza Cavour.
The Synagogue of Livorno is the main Jewish place of worship in Livorno located in Piazza Elijah Benamozegh.
The origin of Fortezza Vecchia takes place not far from what once was Porto Pisano (Pisan Port) where a square tower was built in 1077, on request of Matilda of Tuscany, on the remains of a Roman tower; in 1241 the Pisans built a massive cylindrical tower, 30 meters high erroneously called Mastio di Matilde (Matilda keep). Pisa realized the strategic importance of the castle of Livorno which owned since 1103 and in 1377 the Doge Gambacorti of the Republic of Pisa built a quadrangular Fort called Quadratura dei Pisani (Quartered of the Pisans) on plans attributed to Puccio di Landuccio and Francesco di Giovanni Giordani. In 1392 this fort was connected to a wall in order to defend better the town and the Darsena. Livorno, in 1405, was sold to Genoa which reinforced the defences building three forts under the Quartered, afterwards Livorno was bought from Florence on August 28, 1421 at the price of 100.000 Tuscan florin. The project to build Fortezza Vecchia was commissioned to Antonio da Sangallo the Elder in 1506, the fortress had to incorporate the existing Pisan and Genovese constructions.
The works started in 1518 on order of the Cardinal Giulio De’ Medici under the supervision by Nicolao da Pietrasanta. The construction was suspended since the popular revolt sent the Medici in exile and was resumed in 1530 on their return. Fortezza Vecchia is a massive fortification completed on April 1, 1534 under Alessandro de' Medici; it was built in red-brick with sloping walls and the interposition of clear stones, has a quadrangular plant with a perimeter of 1500 meters and was equipped with 24 cannons to protect each side. One of the corners directs inside to join the Quartered of the Pisans and Matilda and Genoa keep; the three others are protected by triangular bastions with rounded tips. The bastion toward north is called Capitana because there moored the main Galley, to east is Ampolletta since housed the sand-glass used to control the guard duty, to west is the Canaviglia derived from Cavaniglia the name of the commander of the galleys of the Grand Ducky of Tuscany. The land on the side toward the town was excavated in order to have the fortress surrounded by the sea for a better defence. Cosimo I de' Medici built in 1544 an imposing palace, overlooking the Vecchia Darsena, above the Quartered of the Pisans which went destroyed during World war II. The successor Francesco I de' Medici built a small palace toward the sea, later became Porto Mediceo, on the top of Canaviglia bastion situated at the entrance of Vecchia Darsena. On the opposite side was built a church dedicated to Saint Francis where on March 19, 1606 Ferdinando I de' Medici elevated Livorno to the status of city. Fortezza Vecchia changed its function to the coming of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine in 1737, by a defensive structure to a military college for officers of the Army of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (1769) and afterwards in garrison (1795).
The origin of Fortezza Nuova (New fortress) take place at the end of the 1500s, by the adjustment of Baluardo San Francesco (Saint Francis rampart) and Baluardo Santa Barbara (Saint Barbara rampant) of the project commissioned by Cosimo I to Bernardo Buontalenti with the intention to develop a new urban plan of the town that led to a pentagonal shape surrounded by canals.
The original project was then modified by Don Giovanni de' Medici, Claudio Cogorano and Alessandro Pieroni to allow the construction of Fortezza Nuova in order to strengthen the military apparatus of the town. The works started on January 10, 1590 and ended in 1604, the result is a considerable fortification, in stones and red bricks, with a polygonal plant surrounded by water; the new modification brought to the construction of Forte San Pietro (Saint Peter fort) to defend the Venezia Nuova quarter.
In 1629 part of the fortress was demolished to permit the building of Venezia Nuova and San Marco quarters wanted by Ferdinando II. Fortezza Nuova has been used for military purpose until the end of World war II, inside were built barracks and warehouses and a chapel dedicated to Immaculate Conception.
The fortress was heavily damaged during World war II with the destruction of the most part of the buildings, the restoration was completed in 1972 and the superior part is used at present as public park and centre for events and displays.
Francesco I de' Medici gave to Bernardo Buontalenti in 1575 the task to project the ideal town in order to transform Livorno from a fisherman village in a fortified town to accommodate 12,000 inhabitants, to include the original settlement and the Fortezza Vecchia, capable to become the trade centre of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The development of the project led to a pentagonal plant as in use in the Renaissance period, each side 600 meters long, with defensive walls, rampant and five bastions at the vertices, surrounded by canals; the fifth bastion coincided with Fortezza Vecchia. The plan gave no information regarding the function of the new urban area, indicating only a series of building blocks within a road system absolutely orthogonal, cardo and Decumanus Maximus. The road axis from north to south (cardo) underline the direction that united the centre of the town with a significant place as the Sanctuary of Montenero; the axis from west to east (decumanus) linked the Baluardo Santa Giulia to Baluardo Sant’Andrea. In August 1576 was created the Office of the Fabbrica di Livorno with the task of supervising the construction and Alessandro Puccini was the chief superintendent.
Francesco I de' Medici laid the first stone for the construction of the Baluardo di San Francesco (Saint Francis rampant) of the new town on March 28, 1577; the works went on with several changes compared with the original plan including the construction of the Fortezza Nuova. Livorno became a town, encircled by the navigable Fosso Reale (Royal canal), with numerous palaces, warehouse, garrisons and custom-houses. The central street at that time was Via Ferdinanda extended for 750 meters, later called Via Grande, from Porta Colonnella (Colonella city gate), in the proximity of Vecchia Darsena, to Porta Pisana (Pisan city gate). The Baluardo Sant’Andrea was initiated in 1578 while the Baluardo Santa Giulia started in 1582.
In 1594 it was decided to create a huge square, at halfway of Via Ferdinanda, where to build the church of the new town. The church, that was built in a central position on the south side of Piazza d’Arme, later Piazza Grande, was completed in 1602 under the direction of Antonio Cantagaliina and Alessandro Pieroni. Piazza d’Arme was completed and enlarged with the old Porticciolo dei Genovesi (Port of Genovesi) filled up with earth to make room to the building called Tre Palazzi (Three palaces); the square was adorned with a series of marble arcades attributed to Alessandro Pieroni. The Palazzo del Picchetto was built, on plan by Giovanni Battista Foggini and Giovanni del Fantasia in 1707, at the end of Via Ferdinanda in the proximity of Porta Pisana.
The Italian Naval Academy is a mixed-sex military university in Livorno, which is responsible for the technical training of military officers of the Italian Navy.
Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany issued in 1591 a decree encouraging Armenians to settle in Livorno to increase its trade with the Ottoman Empire and western Asia. By the beginning of the 17th century, Armenians operated 120 shops in town. In 1701 the Armenian community, who were members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, were authorized to build their own church, which they dedicated to Gregory the Illuminator. The project was by Giovanni Battista Foggini and the church was completed a few years later, but did not open for worship until 1714. The church had a Latin cross plant and a dome at the intersection of the transept and nave. Destroyed during World War II, it was partly restored in 2008 but is not open to worship.
The first Greeks who settled in Livorno early in the 16th century were former mercenaries in the fleet of Cosimo de' Medici and their descendants. This community grew and became significant in the 18th and 19th centuries, when Livorno became one of the principal hubs of the Mediterranean trade. Most of the new Greek immigrants came from western Greece, Chios, Epirus and Cappadocian Greek.
Based on its status since the late 16th century as a free port (port franc) and the warehouses constructed for long-term storage of goods and grains from the Levant, until the late 19th century Livorno enjoyed a strong strategic position related to Greek mercantile interests in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the North Atlantic. The conflicts between Great Britain and France during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century, with associated port embargoes, piracy, and confiscation of cargoes, played out to the advantage of those Greek merchants willing to accept risk. By the 1820s, Greek entrepreneurs gradually replaced the Protestant British, Dutch, French and other merchants who left the city.
The Greeks concentrated on the grain market, banking and ship-brokering. Cargoes of wheat from the Black Sea were received at Livorno, before being re-shipped to England. Returning ships carried textiles and other industrial goods, which Greek merchants shipped to Alexandria and other destinations in the Ottoman Empire. Men from the Greek city of Chios controlled much of the trade. In 1839 Livorno had ten major commercial houses, led primarily by ethnic Greeks and Jewish Italians.
The ethnic Greek community (nazione) had a distinctive cultural and social identity based on their common Greek Orthodox religion, language and history. In 1775 they established the Confraternity of Holy Trinity (Confraternita della SS. Trinita) and the Chiesa della Santissima Trinita, the second non-Roman Catholic church in Tuscany. The Armenians had earlier built their own Orthodox church. The community founded a Greek school, awarding scholarships for higher studies to young Greeks from the Peloponnese, Epirus, Chios or Smyrna. The community raised funds to support the Greek Revolution of 1821, as well as various Greek communities in the Ottoman Empire and in Italy.
It also assisted non-Greeks. The Rodocanachi family financed the "School of Mutual Education" established in Livorno by the pedagogist Enrico Mayer. The community contributed to founding a school for poor Roman Catholic children. The local governing authorities recognized the contributions of distinguished members of the Greek community (e.g. members of the Papoudoff, Maurogordatos, Rodocanachi, Tossizza and other families) and granted them titles of nobility. After unification and the founding of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, the Greek community in Livorno declined, as the privileges of the free port were rescinded.
See the history of the Jews in Livorno.
Livorno inhabitants speak a variant of the Italian Tuscan dialect, known as a vernacolo. Il Vernacoliere, a satirical comic-style magazine printed chiefly in the Livornese dialect, was founded in 1982 and is now nationally distributed.
The bagitto was a Judæo-Italian regional dialect once used by the Jewish community in Livorno. It was a language based on Italian, developed with words coming from Tuscan, Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew and Yiddish; the presence of Portuguese and Spanish words is due to the origin of the first Jews who came to Livorno, having been expelled from the Iberian peninsula in the late 15th century.
Livorno Aquarium, dedicated to Diacinto Cestoni, is the main in Tuscany, situated by Terrazza Mascagni on the seafront promenade. It was built on project by Enrico Salvais and Luigi Pastore as heliotherapy centre, was opened to the public on June 20, 1937. Destroyed during World war II was rebuilt in 1950; in 1999 underwent an extensive reconstruction, on plan by Studio Gregotti and works carried out by Opera Laboratori Fiorentini, was opened definitely on July 31, 2010. At the ground floor the exhibition include: Diacinto Cestoni Room which consists of 12 exhibition tanks, Mediterranean Area, Indus-Pacific tank, Caribbean Sea, Ligurian coast, Tropical waters, Greek-Roman archaeological coastal area. Livorno Aquarium has 33 exhibition tanks containing 2000 animals of 300 different species.
The Museum was inaugurated in 1994 and is placed inside Villa Mimbelli, an 18th-century construction surrounded by a vast park. The origin of the Museum date back to 1877 when the Comune of Livorno founded a Civic Gallery where to collect all the artistic objects kept in several places around the town; in the same period was written the guideline of the gallery which hosted a collection of paintings of authors by Livorno. The ground and first floors of the Museum are adorned with decorations, furnishings and draperies of the 18th century style with frescoes by Annibale Gatti.
In these two floors are shown works by Enrico Pollastrini, Guglielmo Micheli, Ulvi Liegi, Oscar Ghiglia, Giovanni Bartolena, Leonetto Campiello and Mario Puccini. The main exhibition of the Museum is at the second floor where are displayed the paintings by Giovanni Fattori and other macchiaioli as Silvestro Lega, Telemaco Signorini, Vincenzo Cabianca, Giovanni Boldini, Adolfo Tommasi, Angiolo Tommasi and Ludovico Tommasi. In the other halls are the post-macchiaioli as Eugenio Cecconi, Vittorio Matteo Corcos and divisionism as Benvenuto Benvenuti and Plinio Nomellini. Giovanni Fattori was the main representative artist of the macchiaioli, some of his paintings exhibited are: Carica di Cavalleria a Montebello (1862), La Signora Martelli a Castiglioncello (1867), Assalto alla Madonna della Scoperta (1868), Giornata grigia (1893), Mandrie maremmane (1893), Lungomare ad Antignano (1894), Ritratto della terza moglie (1905).
The Yeshivà Marini Museum is housed in a neoclassical building already place of worship as Marini Oratory since 1867; once was home of the Confraternity Malbish Arumin which provided to help city’s poor. In the post-war period was utilized as synagogue in the waiting for the construction of the new one. The Museum has a collection of liturgical objects coming from the old Synagogue destroyed in World war II. The commerce practiced by the Jews community increased the property of the synagogue allowing a varied religious heritage of Dutch, Florentine, Venetian, Roman and Northern Africa origin. The display regard the Torah ark, the sefer Torah, paintings, religious objects as the Oriental-style wooden hekhal; the oldest and most important pieces went lost.
The origins of the museum date back to 1929 and part of the objects went destroyed by World war II. After the war the museum was reopened inside the Livorno Aquarium and only in 1980 was transferred to Villa Henderson. The museum is divided in several halls regarding the Man, the Man in the Mediterranean context, the Invertebrates, the Sea, the Flight in Nature. Inside the museum is a Planetarium and an Auditorium.
The Museo Mascagnano houses memorabilia, documents and operas by the great composer Pietro Mascagni, who lived here. Every year some of his operas are traditionally played during the lyric music season, which is organized by the Goldoni Theatre. Also the Terrazza Mascagni is situated on the boulevard on the seafront, is named in his honour.
The Orto Botanico del Mediterraneo is a botanical garden located on the grounds of the Museo di storia naturale del Mediterraneo.
The city and port have continued as an important destination for travelers and tourists attracted to its historic buildings and setting. The port processes thousands of cruise-ship passengers of the following cruise line:
many of whom take arranged buses to inland destinations as Florence, Pisa and Siena.
Cantiere navale fratelli Orlando
Since 1866 Livorno has been noted for its Cantiere navale fratelli Orlando. Azimut-Benetti bought the Cantiere navale fratelli Orlando, then of Fincantieri, in 2003.
The plant produces gasoline, diesel fuel, fuel oil and lubricants. Livorno refinery was established in 1936 by Azienda Nazionale Idrogenazione Combustibili (ANIC) but the plant was completely destroyed during World War II. The plant was rebuilt thanks to an agreement between the ANIC and the Standard Oil forming the STANIC. The production of the new plant raised from 700,000 ton to 2 millions ton in 1955; nowadays the capacity of refining is 84,000 barrels per day. The refinery, now property of Eni, is linked to the Darsena petroli (Oil dock) and to Firenze depots by two pipelines.
The Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei (WASS) plant based in Livorno produce: heavy and light torpedoes, anti torpedo countermeasure systems for submarines and ships and sonar systems for underwater surveillance. The factory was founded by Robert Whitehead in 1875 in Fiume, in that period Austria-Hungary, and produced for the first time torpedoes sold all around the world. In 1905 the factory changed name in Torpedo Fabrik Whitehead e Co. Gesellschaft and before his death, Whitehead sold his shares package to Vickers Armstrong Whitworth. At the end of World war I the factory was in economic crisis and was purchased by Giuseppe Orlando, one of the owners of the Cantiere navale fratelli Orlando of Livorno, as Whitehead Torpedo, in 1924 when was signed the Treaty of Rome and Fiume passed to Italy. Whitehead Torpedo established in Livorno the Società Moto Fides that initially produced motorcycles but changed the production in that of torpedoes. With the end of World war II the Fiume factory was closed and merged with Moto Fides forming the Whitehead Moto Fides Stabilimenti Meccanici Riuniti on July 31, 1945 manufacturing 1000 A244 light torpedo sold to 15 Navies. The Whiteheads Moto Fides continued the production of torpedoes in a new plant opened in 1977 and still operating, then entered in the Fiat Group in 1979 and in 1995 passed definitely to Finmeccanica.
Tuaca liqueur was produced in Livorno until 2010; the famous distillery was closed and operations were brought to the United States by the new owners. Galliano is still made here and enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
The Industrial Technical Institute named to Galileo Galilei was founded in 1825 as a School of Arts and Crafts in order to prepare the young to a profession in the sector of the mechanic industry as in the decorative arts. In 1923 with the Gentile Reform was transformed in an Industrial Technical Institute for mechanics and electrical engineering, and in 1947 was added chemistry. In the following years other specialities were added as physics, electronics, biology, nuclear physics and informatics. The Institute is structured with 32 laboratories, 8 special school-rooms, library, film library, gymnasiums and machine-shops.
The Nautical Institute Alfredo Cappellini was formed on December 13, 1863 with a Royal Law and it was the first Technical Institute in the Province of Livorno. In 1921 it was transferred under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Navy then returned to the Ministry of Education. The school give the professional preparation to form the Merchant navy Officers.
The Liceo Classico Niccolini was established on March 10, 1860 by law of Terenzio Mamiani Ministry of the Public Instruction. The first Preside elected was Luigi De Steffani who remained in charge from 1862 to 1867. The Liceo was entitled to Giovanni Battista Niccolini Foscolo’s friend in 1862 and in 1883 was named to Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi; the double name came into effect in 1889 and remained until the unification of the Liceo with the Istituto magistrale. The most famous professor was Giovanni Pascoli who taught Greek and Latin from 1887 to 1895. Among the most prominent pupils were: Pietro Mascagni, Guglielmo Marconi, Amedeo Modigliani, Giosué Borsi and Carlo Azeglio Ciampi who was teacher in 1945.
The Biblioteca Labronica on the Viale della Libertà was founded in 1816, from the fellows of the Accademia Labronica, which was made public in 1840 and it was given to the Comune in 1854. The civic library was dedicated to Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi in 1923 and take place in Villa Fabbricotti, the origin of the villa according to the tradition, date back to the Medicean period when an edifice was built as a suburban residence for Ferdinand II de' Medici. Villa Fabbricotti received the name from its last owner Bernardo Fabbricotti from Carrara who acquired it from the English merchant Thomas Lloyd in 1881. Fabbricotti, following to adverse economic affairs, sold the Villa and the park to the Comune in 1936. During World war II the building was used by the German command as headquarter and then taken by the American forces; in the post-war period was restored in order to adapt it into library. In the warehouse of the Biblioteca Labronica are stored: 120,000 books, 1,500 manuscripts, 117 incunables, 2,000 cinquecentine (is a book printed in the 16th century) and 60,000 autographs; the library is organized with reading rooms with 80 places of capacity, 18 seats for consultation of manuscripts, 4 internet positions and a conference room with 60 seats. The library has a collection of autographs including those of Galileo Galilei and Giacomo Leopardi and manuscript by Ugo Foscolo and ancient books printed in Livorno since the 17th century among which the Encyclopédie printed in 1770 in Livorno by the ancient Bagno dei forzati (Gaol of the convicts).
Il Tirreno is a regional Italian newspaper, printed and published in Livorno and distributed in Tuscany. Il Tirreno also features sixteen local editions around the whole region.
Il Vernacoliere is an Italian satirical monthly magazine printed in Livorno founded in 1982 and distributed in central Italy.
Even if football is the most known and practised sport in the city, many other champions came from others, like athletics (the 400 meters hurdles world champion in 1999 Fabrizio Mori) and fencing (Aldo Montano). Livorno also has its own rugby and American football teams.
Livorno has a football team in Lega Pro, A.S. Livorno Calcio and the matches are played at the Stadio Armando Picchi.
Pallacanestro Don Bosco Livorno, founded in 1996, is an amateur Italian basketball club from the town of Livorno, playing in the Serie C Gold as of April 2017.
The nearest airport is the main airport of Tuscany, Pisa International Airport, which is about 20 kilometres (12 mi) away.
Livorno bus network is performed by Compagnia Toscana Trasporti Nord (CTT Nord) which manages, by 2nd May 2017, 2 High Mobility Routes (Blue LAM and Red LAM), 12 urban routes, 1 school route, 3 services by request and 6 suburban routes departing from Livorno across the Province. CTT Nord operates a funicular route which connect lower Montenero to the Sanctuary.
The Port of Livorno is one of the largest seaports both in Italy and the Mediterranean Sea as a whole. The Port has regular ferry links of the following operators with the following cities:Corsica Ferries - Sardinia Ferries to Golfo Aranci and Bastia
Grimaldi Lines to Barcelona and Tangier
Moby Lines to Olbia and Bastia
Toremar to Capraia
The city is served by Livorno Centrale station.
Livorno is twinned with: Bat Yam, Israel
Guadalajara, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
Oakland, United States of America