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For the football club, see A.S. Livorno Calcio. For the infantry division, see 4 Mountain Infantry Division Livorno.
Comune di Livorno
View of Livorno
View of Livorno
Coat of arms of Livorno
Coat of arms
Livorno is located in Italy
Location of Livorno in Italy
Coordinates: 43°33′N 10°19′E / 43.550°N 10.317°E / 43.550; 10.317
Country Italy
Region Tuscany
Province Livorno (LI)
Frazioni Castellaccio, Gorgona, Limoncino, Quercianella, Valle Benedetta
 • Mayor Filippo Nogarin
 • Total 104.8 km2 (40.5 sq mi)
Elevation 3 m (10 ft)
Population (31 December 2014)[1]
 • Total 160,512
 • Density 1,500/km2 (4,000/sq mi)
Demonym Livornesi, also Labronici
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 57100
Dialing code 0586
Patron saint Santa Giulia da Corsica
Saint day 22 May
Website Official website

Livorno (Italian: [liˈvorno]; English traditionally Leghorn (/lɛɡˈhɔrn/, /ˈlɛɡɔrn/)),[2][3] is a port city on the Mediterranean sea on the western coast of Tuscany, Italy.[4] It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of 160,512 residents on December 31, 2014.


Fortifications of Livorno in the 17th century.

The origin[edit]

Livorno was founded in 1017 as one of the small coastal fortresses protecting Pisa. It belonged to the city of Pisa for several hundred years.[5] However, the port serving Pisa was not Livorno but Porto Pisano, destroyed after the crushing defeat of the Pisan fleet in the Battle of Meloria.[6] Between 1404 and 1421, Livorno belonged to Genoa, and on August 28, 1421 it was sold to Florence. 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.[7] The only remainder of medieval Livorno is a fragment of two towers and a wall, located inside the Fortezza Vecchia.

Medicean period[edit]

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.[8]

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.[9] The first plan was drawn by the architect Bernardo Buontalenti in 1577,[10] the new fortified town had a pentagon plant, for this reason is called Pentagono del Buontalenti, incorporating the original settlement. The Porto Mediceo was over lookeed and defended by towers and fortresses leading to the town centre.

In the late 1580s, Ferdinando I of Tuscany declared Livorno a porto franco or free port, which meant that the goods traded here were duty-free within the area of the town's control. To regulate this trade, in 1590 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 Jewish immigrants, beginning in the late sixteenth century from 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 area. 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 Saint 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 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.

From 17th century until today[edit]

At the end of the 17th century, Livorno underwent a period of great town 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, 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.

During the Napoleonic Wars of the early nineteenth century, the French prohibited trade with Britain, and the economy of Livorno suffered greatly. The French had taken over Tuscany in 1808, incorporating it into their empire. 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 neo-classical buildings, public parks housing important museums and cultural institutions, the market, and "Liberty" villas with sea views.[citation needed]

Livorno suffered extensive damage during the Second World War. Many historic sites and buildings were destroyed by bombs of the Allies preceding their invasion, including the cathedral and the synagogue. A new synagogue was designed by A. Di Castro and built starting in 1958 reflects contemporary styles.

Main sites[edit]

View of Livorno from the old fortress
Piazza Grande before restoration
The Monumento dei Quattro Mori recently restored

Civil architecture[edit]

Venezia Nuova[edit]

The Venezia Nuova (New Venice) district retains much of its original town planning and architectural features such as the bridges, narrow lanes, the noblemen's houses and a dense network of canals that once served to link its warehouses to the port.

Monumento dei quattro mori[edit]

The Monumento dei quattro mori ("Monument of the Four Moors"), is dedicated to Grand Duke Ferdinando I de' Medici of Tuscany, and is one of the most popular monuments of Livorno.

Piazza della Repubblica[edit]

The Piazza della Repubblica (Republic square) contains two monuments of Italian politicians important to the unification; one is dedicated to Ferdinand III and the other to Leopold II. A large canal passes under the square, which serves as a bridge over it.

Religious architecture[edit]

Old English Cemetery[edit]

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.

Sanctuary of Montenero[edit]

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.

Military architecture[edit]

Fortezza Vecchia[edit]

Fortezza Vecchia

The origin of Fortezza Vecchia take place no far from 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 with the victory of Pisa over Genoa the Pisans built a massive cylindrical tower, 30 meters high, erroneously called Mastio di Matilde (Matilda keep). [11] 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. [12] Livorno, in 1407, 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. [13]

The project to build Fortezza Vecchia was commissioned to Antonio da Sangallo the Elder in 1506, the fortress had to incorporate the existing Pisan constructions. [14] The works started in 1518 on order of the Cardinal Giulio De’ Medici under the supervision by Nicolao da Pietrasanta to transform and enlarge the Quartered of Pisans, 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.[11]

One of the corners directs inside to join the Quartered of the Pisans and Matilda 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.[11]

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).

Fortezza Nuova[edit]

Fortezza Nuova

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. [15]

In 1629 part of the fortress was demolished to permit the building of Venezia Nuova and San Marco quarters wanted by Ferdinando II. [16] 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.[17]

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.

Pentagono del Buontalenti[edit]

The copy of the project by Buontalenti

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,[18] 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.[19] 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 Santo Giulia to Baluardo Sant’Andrea.[20] On 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.[21]

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.[20] 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.[22]

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. [23] 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.

Accademia Navale[edit]

Livorno houses the Italian Naval Academy.


Foreigner minorities[edit]

Armenian community[edit]

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.[24] In 1701 the Armenian community, who were Eastern Orthodox, 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.[25] 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.

Greek community[edit]

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.[26] Most of the new Greek immigrants came from western Greece, Chios, Epirus and Asia Minor.

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, 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.[27]

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.[28] The community founded a Greek school, awarding scholarships for higher studies to young Greeks from the Peloponnesus, 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.[29]

The Jewish community[edit]

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.[30]


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.


Museo Civico G. Fattori[edit]

The Museum was inaugurated in 1994 and is located inside Villa Mimbelli. It hosts a collection of paintings by Giovanni Fattori and other macchiaioli.

Acquario comunale Diacinto Cestoni

Acquario comunale Diacinto Cestoni[edit]

The main aquarium in Tuscany, it was opened on June 20, 1937. It was destroyed during fighting in World War II as the Allies advanced up the peninsula. In the postwar years, the aquarium was reconstructed; it was later enlarged and restored several times. It has 33 exhibition tanks containing 2000 animals of 300 different species.

Museo Ebraico Yeshivà Marini[edit]

The Museum has a collection of cult objects from the old Synagogue destroyed during World war II.

Museo di storia naturale del Mediterraneo[edit]

Museo di storia naturale del Mediterraneo

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.

Museo Mascagnano[edit]

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, a walkway divided from the sea by a handrail, is named in his honor.


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, many of whom take arranged buses to inland destinations as Florence, Pisa and Siena.

Since the half of the 19th century, Livorno has been noted for its Cantiere navale fratelli Orlando. Workers there in 1911 built the armored cruiser, Georgios Averof, the flagship of the Greek Navy during its victorious battles against Turks in the Balkan Wars and World War I. The city has also developed a substantial petrochemical industry.

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 nearest airport is the main airport of Tuscany, Pisa's Galileo Galilei Airport, which is about 20 kilometres (12 mi) away.


Livorno bus service is operated by Compagnia Toscana Trasporti Nord (CTT Nord) that manages 16 urban routes, 2 school routes and 6 suburban routes departing from Livorno; it operates a funicular line which connect low with high Montenero.


The Port of Livorno is one of the largest Italian seaports and in the Mediterranean Sea region.


The city is served by Livorno Centrale station.


Livorno has a football team in Serie B, A.S. Livorno Calcio. 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 has its own basketball, rugby, and American football team, too.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Livorno is twinned with:

Notable people[edit]

Points of interest[edit]


See also[edit]



  1. ^ Istat
  2. ^ Macdonald, A.M. (ed.) (1972). Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary. Chambers. 
  3. ^ Collins Concise Dictionary (Revised Third Edition ed.). Glasgow: HarperCollins. 1995. 
  4. ^ de Blij, H. J.; O. Muller, Peter; Nijman, Jan (2010). "Regions of the Realm". The World Today: Concepts and Regions in Geography. John Wiley & Sons. p. 63. ISBN 9780470646380. 
  5. ^ Vaccari et al, p. 15
  6. ^ Vaccari et al, p. 28
  7. ^ Vaccari et al, p. 42
  8. ^ Vaccari et al, p. 48
  9. ^ Treccani
  10. ^ Treccani
  11. ^ a b c Livornina
  12. ^ webalice
  13. ^ Treccani
  14. ^ La Fortezza
  15. ^ Comune di Livorno
  16. ^ Itinerari Scientifici
  17. ^ Geoplan
  18. ^ babilonia61
  19. ^ vasaribuontalenti
  20. ^ a b architetto livorno
  21. ^ Dario Matteoni, Le città nella storia d’Italia Livorno, p.19, Edizioni Laterza e Belforte Editore Livorno
  22. ^ Dario Matteoni, Le città nella storia d’Italia Livorno, p.20-21, Edizioni Laterza e Belforte Editore Livorno
  23. ^ randucato
  24. ^ Italiarmenia
  25. ^ Livorno delle nazioni
  26. ^ Vlami Despina (1997) "Commerce and identity in the Greek communities: Livorno in the 18th and 19th centuries. (Identities, Cultures, and Creativity)", Diogenes, 22 March 1997
  27. ^ Harlaftis G., A History of Greek-Owned Shipping, Routledge, London, 1996, p. 50
  28. ^ Christopoulos, M.D. "Greek Communities Abroad: Organization and Integration. A Case Study of Trieste", Representations, pp. 23–46
  29. ^ Vlami, D. (undated) "Filopatrides kai filogeneis Hellenes tou Livorno", part of the series The Greece of Benefactors, Hemeresia newspaper, pp. 1–64. In Greek language. Need date of publication.
  30. ^ "COS'È IL VERNACOLIERE". Mario Cardinali. 
  31. ^ it:Piero Barontini


Vaccari, Olimpia; Frattarelli Fischer, Lucia; Mangio, Carlo; Panessa, Giangiacomo; Bettini, Maurizio. Storia Illustrata di Livorno. Storie Illustrate (in Italian). Pisa: Pacini Editore. pp. 1–272. ISBN 88-7781-713-5. 

External links[edit]