Livorno, the Tuscan gateway to the Mediterranean Sea, is crossed by canals and situated by the seaside.
Planned as an ideal town in the 16th century, Livorno reveals its history through its districts characterised by the Medicean canals, which are still navigable, and through its port, overlooked by towers and fortresses, leading to the town centre.
Around the middle of the 19th century, the first bathing establishments of Italy appeared in Livorno. This tradition still continues thanks to the town's bathing establishments, hospitable and welcoming, situated along the shoreline promenade that stretches for many kilometres among impressive 19th-century buildings, villas in the Liberty style and the green vegetation: pine trees, tamarisks and oleanders.
There are many places of interest by the sea, such as: the Naval Academy, a prestigious training school for officers of the Italian Navy founded in 1881, the city Aquarium, the Natural History museum of the Mediterranean, the Caprilli racecourse, a hundred-year-old setting for important horse racing seasons, and the Terrazza Mascagni, which offers a wonderful view over some of the islands of the Tuscan archipelago: Elba, Capraia and Gorgona, as far as Corsica.
Just beyond Livorno the pinkish stone cliffs of Calafuria and Romito stand above an amazing crystal-clear sea.
When the Florentine Medici rulers first established the city in the late-16th century, they passed a seried of laws called the "Leggi Livornine" inviting people from any race, religion or background to come and populate their newly-constructed port-side town, even offering immunity to those with a dubious past. So it is hardly surprising that the resulting population was a varied and colourful one, containing a wealth of cultures, languages, and trades.
Today’s Livornese are an inventive people, used to getting by when times are hard. They are famous for their irreverent sense of humour, their laid back nature and their love of life in general. Unlike other Tuscan cities, Livorno is a place where nobody really minds if you don’t know your Michelangelos from your Leonardos. Although the city does not want for cultural pursuits, you can adopt a much more relaxed pace and enjoy the sunshine and food as well!
This corner of Tuscany, between Livorno and Piombino, is called the Etruscan Coast.
The beautiful beaches and the green Mediterranean ma-quis, south of Livorno, are landscapes which have only been partially tampered with by man, but which retain that peace and that beauty which also stimulate the pleasure of knowledge. There are protected habitats in oases, wildlife refuges, parks and reserves which give shelter to roe and fallow deer, badgers and porcupines, falcons and flamingos.
There are hills covered in woods and punctuated by medieval citadels, tempting gulfs overlooked by fishing villages. This is a land which never ceases to surprise. And which offers ideas for alternative holidays in the open air, on the seafloors populated by a great variety of fish, in the seas ploughed by dolphins and striped dolphins, in the old town centres abounding with monuments and in places which have marked important chapters of our history and poetry: the avenue of cypresses that inspired Giosue Carducci, winner of the Nobel prize in 1906 and the greatest Italian poet of the turn of the century, forms the approach to Bolgheri.