- 1 The Origins of the City
- 2 What to see
- 3 Sea resorts near Livorno
The Origins of the City
The origins of the city are rather uncertain, but in any case it is in recent times that the city has come into its own. After Pisa fell to the Florentines (1405), Livorno passed under Genoa which a few years later ceded it to Florence for 100,000 florins.
On 28 March 1577 the foundation stone of modern Livorno was laid when it was decided to build a new port there as the old port of nearby Pisa was by now completely silted up.
This was the beginning of the city’s prosperity: the population quadrupled and it rapidly became an extremely important maritime centre. With the building of the great Medicean port it became a crossroads for vital international trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. During the Second World War the city was heavily bombed and some of its most important monuments were destroyed.
What to see
The city’s Cathedral was built towards the end of the 16th century to a design by Alessandro Pieroni, and was later enlarged in the 18th century. The simple façade in entirely faced with marble. The bell tower has a quadrangular base and is built in brick. The Latin cross interior has a single nave.
The Fortezza Vecchia is a massive brick fortification built by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger between 1521 and 1534. Inside the fort is the small Church os San Francesco as well as some remains of the ancient Roman castrum.
Statue of the Four Moors
Situated in Piazza Giuseppe Micheli the statue was dedicated to its central figure, Grand Duke Ferdinando de’Medici, made by Giovanni Bandini in 1595. however, the real sculptural masterpiece is the group of four figures – the Four Moors – four Barbary pirates in chains. The four statues were added in 1626 and are considered one of Francesco Tacca’s great masterpieces.
In the surrounding hills is the Sanctuary of Montenero which has developed around a small chapel built in the 14th century to venerate the miraculous image of the Virgin.
Modigliani and Mascagni
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Livorno was the birthplace of several important personalities. The museum of Villa Mimbelli, for example, is dedicated to Giovanni Fattori, while another great artist of the late 19th-early 20th centuries was Amedeo Modigliani, born here in 1884, who left the city as a young man to travel to Florence, Venice and then Paris.
The Museo Mascagni, in the annex of Villa Maria, is dedicated to the great musician who was born in Livorno in 1863. Mementos, photographs, manuscripts and scores relating to his life and work are exhibited here.
Mascagni Terrace (Terrazza Mascagni)
Travelers who want to take in stunning views, revel in salt water breezes and enjoy plenty of open space for walking will love the Mascagni Terrace (Terrazza Mascagni), tucked along the Italian coast.
Its checkerboard promenade is a local landmark as many visitors as locals gather here to watch ferries sail in and out of the port from this terrace on the sea.
A number of picturesque cafes and tasty restaurants prove the perfect stopping point for a drink with a view during an evening constitution, but quiet benches and peaceful bike paths offer up alternatives for those who want to unwind near the water.
Giovanni Fattori Civic Museum
The museum dedicated to Giovanni Fattori is now located in the prestigious Villa Mimbelli, designed and built by Giuseppe Micheli between 1865 and 1875. The museum contains, with the Gallery of Modern Art in Palazzo Pitti, the greatest number of paintings by “macchiaioli” painters.
Three floors of rooms in the villa have been entirely reorganised and now exhibit, about 136 works, many of which had for long been kept in storage. In addition to the paintings of Fattori that form the main corpus of the gallery, works by Silvestro Lega, Cesare and Giovanni Bartolena, Vittorio Corcos, Michele Gordigliani, Leonetto Cappiello, Plinio Novellini and Oscar Ghiglia are displayed.
The Progressive Museum of Contemporary Art
Located in Villa Maria, the Museum contains works by respected contemporary artists such as Cappiello, Guttuso and Rosai.
The Yeshiva Marini Jewish Museum
The privileges established under the Livorno constitutions of 1591 and 1593 encouraged Jews to take up residence there and since then the community has always been quite numerous in the city. Exhibited in the Museum are interesting religious items and furnishings mainly from the old Synagogue of Livorno built in 1593 and destroyed during the Second World War.
The Archaeological Mining Park of San Silvestro at Campiglia covers an area of about 450 hectares and is part of the larger system of six parks in the Val di Cornia.
The most interesting aspect of this park is that all stages in the process of cooper, lead and silver extraction from the origins of mining itself in the 7th century BC until the present day, may be seen here.
The extensive evidence of Etruscan and Roman mining, the remains of the medieval village of San Silvestro and the tunnels opened in more recent centuries make this one of the most interesting mineral parks in all of Europe
Sea resorts near Livorno
– San Vincenzo
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