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Classic tour of Livorno

Length of Tour: 3 hours

Livorno has always been the most important port in Tuscany and a melting-pot of cultures. It was established and developed by the Medici, rulers of Florence, and designed by Bernardo Buontalenti in the late 16th century. A series of laws, passed in the early 17th century, known as the Leggi Livornine, declared Livorno a free port and groups of foreigners arrived, termed “Nations”: English, Dutch, Greek, French, and Armenian, in addition to many Jews fleeing persecution. Traces of these communities are still visible today in the churches and cemeteries that were established during their time in Livorno.

Although predominantly geared toward commercial activities, Livorno is famous for having launched seaside resorts at the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries. During the Belle-Époque, the elite of Tuscany would flock to the Pancaldi and Palmieri beach resorts, where the renowned painter, Giovanni Fattori, immortalized the women in a small but splendid tablet in 1866, one of the most famous of the Macchiaioli movement (the Macchiaioli were Italian painters active in Tuscany during the second half of the 19th century and did much of their painting outdoors to capture natural light, shade, and color).
Having suffered heavy damage during World War II, Livorno was rebuilt and today is a modern city that still preserves many vestiges of its past such as the Quartiere Venezia (Little Venice) so named because of its network of canals and bridges. The canals were used for transporting goods directly from warehouses to the port. The canals are still used today and boat rides for tourists offer a fascinating perspective of the city.
Livorno has also been a destination for pilgrims for centuries. Nearby, in the hills, there is the Santuario di Montenero (Sanctuary of Montenero) dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Grace), patron of Tuscany. From its hilltop location, there is a spectacular panorama of the city and coast. In the interior of the complex, the gallery is jam-packed with votive offerings attesting to people’s deep devotion to Mary.

During the tour, your local guide will accompany you to explore the district where the old Medici port is located. There stand the imposing Fortezza Vecchia (Old Fortress) and Mastio di Matilde (Matilda’s Tower).
You can then admire the 16th-century statue called “I Quattro Mori” (The Four Moors), symbol of Livorno, and continue alongside the canals of the intriguing Quartiere Venezia (Little Venice) toward Piazza della Repubblica and Fortezza Nuova (New Fortress).

You will walk through the market area, passing by the Church of the Olandesi (Dutch-German Church), and while returning to the central area, also see the Church of the Greci Uniti (Greek United Church).
The tour will conclude with a panoramic bus ride along the seafront with the inevitable stop for photos and gelato at the splendid Terrazza Mascagni, a sweeping terrace overlooking the sea and coast of Livorno.
By the end of the tour, you will have fully captured the surprisingly original and particular personality of Livorno and its inhabitants.

Please note: it is possible to organize a boat tour along the canals of the Quartiere Venezia (Little Venice). Please ask for a quote.

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