With a strategic position on the north Tuscan coastline, Livorno offers a convenient base for exploring the region’s abundant charms. Many cruise passengers will go directly to Florence for its famous attractions like the Uffizi and Ponte Vecchio, while others will go to Lucca, Pisa, and other Tuscan destinations. Livorno itself is most famous for its international port, which has been used for centuries as a centre of commerce. You can see forts, towers and medieval city walls built by the Medici family to guard this important shipping stronghold, or visit the city’s spacious aquarium.
Upon arrival in Livorno’s port, you’ll find many of the city’s star attractions within walking distance. However, if you want to visit Florence instead, you’ll have a number of options! It takes a little over an hour to drive there each way, and you’ll find taxis readily available lined up outside of your ship upon arrival. Your cruise ship will most likely offer a shuttle service to the Piazza Grande in Livorno, and you can take a taxi to the central train station from there for service to Florence or Pisa. Prefer to drive yourself around Tuscany? Look for the Hertz and Avis counters at the Livorno dock.
If you wish to stay and explore Livorno itself, there are several can’t-miss attractions here, starting with the port! Livorno’s port is one of Italy’s busiest, located next to the Livorno Aquarium and boasting a range of recreational terminal facilities. Nearby you’ll find the ‘New Fort’, constructed in the 1500s, featuring ancient walls and beautiful gardens. The area around this fort is called New Venice for its stately canals, a charming area to stop and take photographs. Walk down the central Via Grande to tour the city centre with its monuments and shops, and don’t miss a trip to the Terrazza Mascagni to admire beautiful sea views.
Livorno’s waterfront location makes it an excellent place to try seafood! Fresh fish is combined with Tuscan cooking traditions to create local dishes full of flavour – if a dish is called ‘alla livornese’ it means it’s prepared in a rich tomato sauce. Cacciucco is perhaps the most famous dish made in this style, being a hearty, tomato-y, peppery fish stew. Apart from this you’ll have to try the tuna carpaccio with lemon, chickpea flour cakes, and clams simmered in white wine. Spaghetti’s often dished up with fresh crabmeat, and if you’re looking for a satisfying way to end the meal tuck into a rich chestnut cake.
Livorno’s central market is one of the best places to soak in the rhythms of this working city’s daily life. The building is hard to miss, with its airy structure and bevy of market stalls housed inside. There are over 200 stalls to choose from, hawking fresh produce, locally produced wine, handmade bread and decadent cheeses.
One popular day trip from Livorno is off to the city of Pisa, famed for its leaning tower. However there’s more to admire here than the tower, including an impressive cathedral and baptistery. Visit the National Museum or Palazzo dei Cavalieri to explore the city’s culture and art.
If you want to get out and admire the views of the Tuscan countryside, why not take a trip to Montenero? This small town sits to the south of Livorno, famous for its funicular railway that takes you up to the top of the hill here. You can enjoy sweeping seaside views and a visit to the beautiful church at the top.
Naturally, Florence will be at the top of the list for visitors to Livorno, with its Renaissance masterpieces located right and left in this cultural hotspot. Highlights include Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia, and the Birth of Venus by Botticelli at the Uffizi.