Livorno: A City Worth Exploring on Tuscany’s Tyrrhenian Sea

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Are you planning on exploring the Tuscan coast but want to experience city life at the same time? Then Livorno is the destination for you! With its approximately 160,000 residents, Livorno is the second-largest city center in Tuscany so don’t expect to find a typical medieval Tuscan village. Get ready for a bustling port city with excellent food and a charming Venetian-style neighborhood complete with canals. In this article, we’ll give you the major highlights of what to see and do so you can enjoy Livorno to the fullest.

History and Culture

To start off your day in this beautiful town, we suggest the spectacular Terrazza Mascagni. The monumental promenade with an elegant, dizzying checkerboard pavement is perfect for a relaxing stroll with a gelato in hand.

The Old Fortress (Fortezza Vecchia) is a Renaissance fortification built in the 16th century on the orders of Cosimo I De’ Medici. Throughout the year it hosts big-name concerts, festivals, and cultural events.

Venezia Nuova district: The lovely district of Venezia Nuova, or New Venice, in the center of Livorno, with its bridges, canals, and tiny piazzas resembles the popular city of Venice. This neighborhood dates to the 18th century and was created out of necessity for the transportation of goods from the port to storage warehouses for the merchant class. You can also take a boat ride along the canals for an even more memorable experience.
In the center of this area, you’ll also find the Fortezza Nuova, or the New Fortress, a lush green area that was once used as both a warehouse and as barracks. Today, it’s a public park and also hosts various events throughout the year.

Another iconic monument of the city is the Four Moors, or i Quattro Mori, which is located in front of the old dock of the Medici port. It was built in 1587 to honor Grand Duke Ferdinando I de’ Medici and the Knights of Santo Stefano’s victories over the Barbary pirates. The four chained Moors are captivating and if you truly know the people of Livorno, you won’t be surprised to find out that they actually identify more with the captives than with the powerful Grand Duke.

Livorno’s Famous Markets and Food Culture

Livorno is very famous for its historic markets which have always been at the city’s nucleus and an integral part of its culture. Between Piazza Cavallotti and Via Buontalenti is the Central Market (also known as the Vettovaglie Market) which is one of the largest covered markets in Europe and a true symbol of the city. This architectural marvel built in the 19th century will give you a real taste (pun intended) of Livorno’s cuisine in a lively, authentic atmosphere. We highly recommend it!

In the Venice District, there is another very famous market that dates back to the post-World War II period: the American Market. Originally, the Mercatino Americano was a place to exchange goods between the American soldiers and the local population, but it later evolved into a real neighborhood market. Nowadays, even if the merchandise has drastically changed over the years, it is still a fun place to go if you’re looking for original, vintage objects, and above all, jeans and military paraphernalia.

To taste the local cuisine you must try cacciucco, a delicious seafood/fish dish served with a thick slice of Tuscan bread. Another must while you are in Livorno is the classic street food known as the “cinque e cinque” (“five and five”). This delicious sandwich is either on a focaccia or two slices of French bread stuffed with chickpea cake (torta di ceci) and doused with salt, pepper, and olive oil. But why is it called a “five and five”? There was a time when workers would ask for 5 cents worth of chickpea cake and 5 cents worth of bread. It certainly doesn’t cost ten cents anymore, but it is pure magic and definitely worth tasting!



The Museum of Natural History of the Mediterranean is a museum for all ages, with a vast collection of fossils and taxidermy animals of various species.
Visit the museum’s official website for details.
And for all of you art lovers, especially from the 19th to the 20th century, the Giovanni Fattori Civic Museum is for you. A collection of Italian but also foreign works awaits you in the exquisite context of Villa Mimbelli.
Check the official website for details.

livorno-piccola venezia

The Aquarium and the Sea

Livorno’s Aquarium is one of the largest in Italy with thousands of species of sea life including octopus and sharks.
Visit the official website for details.

Livorno has a gorgeous coastline with beaches ranging from sandy to rocky and sure to please everyone. If you want to take a dip in crystal clear, sparkling water, head just a few kilometers south of the city. Some of our favorites include the Spiaggia del Sale, Tre Ponti, and the Calafuria Nature Reserve.

From the port of Livorno (and Piombino), you can hop on a ferry destined for islands such as Corsica, Sardinia, Elba and Capraia. Mother Nature truly outdid herself on the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. The wild island of Capraia is truly a paradise for snorkeling, boating, scuba diving, and exploring secret coves.


  • Effetto Venezia: an evocative event that transforms the city into a little Venice, with gondolas sailing on the canals. August
  • Livorno Carnival: one of the oldest and most heartfelt in Italy, with allegorical floats and colorful masks. March/April
  • International Sailing Week: A competition involving the Naval Academy and the city’s sailing clubs. It began in 1981 with the “Centennial Regatta” and then evolved over the years to become a major event for European sailors and beyond. April
  • The Mascagni Festival: Dedicated to the music and operas of Pietro Mascagni. August.

Livorno is a city that never fails to both surprise and win over the hearts of all those who visit. With its contagious spirit and perfect mix of history, culture, and the sea, it offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience.