Livorno, Italy

Rich in history and culture, Livorno, or Leghorn, is nestled in Italy’s Tuscany region and is the third largest city in the area, after Florence and Prato. Impressive architecture and history, gourmet food and wines, and a bustling nightlife make Livorno an ideal spot for travelers seeking a wide variety of experiences.

Established in medieval times, Livorno was a small port that offered a central location for trading and culture. In the 15th century, Florence purchased the port from Genoa, intent on making it a hub for Florentine rulers, the Medici. The family employed their own architect, Buontalenti, to design a city around the port. Expansion continued for centuries; a new fortress was erected, along with town walls and a system of canals for traveling through the city. In the late 1500s it was declared that all goods sold within the town would be duty free, allowing Livorno to become a center of trade and one of the most integral ports in the Mediterranean. The success of the port brought merchants and their families from all around, making their homes in Livorno, and turning the city into a cultural melting pot.Livorno Castle, Tuscany, ItalyToday, Livorno has maintained much of the classic charm and renaissance culture that originally built the city. The narrow streets, bridges, and canals are well traveled and many opulent homes remain from the days of the Medici. Italian is spoken in the area, but Livorno people are well-known for their unique dialect and speech.

Foodies will find culinary delights within Livorno that set it apart from other areas in the region. Cacciucco, a rich fish stew making use of the fresh catches off the coast, has become a symbol of the city. Torta di Ceci, another local specialty, is a large, thin pancake made with a batter of chick pea, poured into a round pan, and baked into a pizza oven. It is a very popular takeaway meal in the area. For those looking to quench their thirst, Livorno offers a unique beverage in Ponce. A hot coffee drink mixed with rum, its recipe is tightly guarded by bars in the area.

Guests should be sure to visit the Historic Venezia District, an island separated by bridges and canals and originally home to the more successful merchants in the 1600s. The area has since been repurposed and now houses many of the city’s restaurants and bars. The more adventurous should check out the oldest cemetery of its type in Italy, the Old English Cemetery, dating back to the 1600s. For breathtaking views of the city and the sea, guests can visit the Terrazza Mascagni.

Livorno offers guests a glimpse of the beginnings of the city, the history of growth and trade along the coast of Tuscany, and the bustling metropolis that Livorno has become. Livorno combines old world Tuscan charm with exciting, fresh perspectives. Unique gourmet meals and fine dining, an abundance of shopping opportunities, exhilarating nightlife, and a renaissance setting makes for a memorable location for any traveler.


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