Chiesa di San Jacopo in Acquaviva
At the end of the Terrazza Mascagni, a piazza opens up, ending with the church of San Jacopo in Acquaviva. Not the most attractive church in the world, it's not particularly ugly either...but the church and the adjoining old houses do stand out a bit, surrounded by the modern buildings across the piazza.
On the sea side of the square, you can get a good view of those sunning themselves on the rocks in the private bathing complex. Just as we were walking past, we noticed two girls posing in their designer beachwear and a rogue wave fast approaching. We stopped to watch the carnage ensue, and snorted as they screamed and checked their makeup.
Mercato Centrale and the main canal
Behind Piazza della Repubblica, the main canal re-appears and turns a corner, where the buildings alongside it become much grander and more impressive as you near the sea. One of the grandest buildings is the large Mercato Centrale, a three story dark brownish pile in between lots of yellow buildings. The canal is one of the more active waterways in the city, with many small boats going back and forth. What I'd like to know is...do the boats carry on under the piazza-cum-bridge?
Livorno has plenty of old churches dotted around the place, although I only went inside one. I remember one church looked as if it had just survived a bomb attack...the building to the side had been blasted, and bits of wall crumbled into rubble, but the church itself seemed to be still in tact. Then of course there is the Duomo on a busy square, the Armenian and Greek churches on a busy shopping street, and a synagogue as evidence of Livorno's Jewish past.
Chiesa di Santa Caterina da Siena
In the heart of Venezia Nuova is this church, which looks quite plain from the outside, just dull bricks and an octagonal belltower. But inside, the dome is impressively painted. It dates from the 1700s and actively welcomes visitors who dress respectfully (no shorts...).
I tried to take a few photos inside, but I haven't yet mastered the art of holding the camera steady without using the flash, so they are a bit blurred :(
Quartiere Venezia Nuova
The streets around the Fortezza Nuova were built to resemble Venice, with a network of canals and bridges. It's not exactly a small Venice...the buildings aren't nearly as grand as venetian palaces, and the waterways are not filled with water taxis and gondolas...but neither are the walkways clogged with millions of tourists. In fact, I saw not a single one. This whole quarter was very quiet, hardly anyone about, and despite the many boats morred along the sides of the canals, very few were actually in use.
The Venezia Nuova quarter does not have any major sights...instead it is just a nice residential quarter to walk around. There are some old churches lurking in the backstreets, not looking so impressive from the outside, but very ornate on the inside, so don't be put off by bland exteriors.
The houses are all slightly dilapidated, decaying, fading...if this was Venice, they would have been given a lick of paint and patched up, but I prefer them this way.
The old Square Piazza Cavaloiotti
The Corso Carducci takes you right into the old part of the city, and the main square. It is packed with people and parking is a nightmare. Of course on the day we visited, it was also market day, making it much worse. WE never found a spot after driving around for 1/2 hour and the only vacant places were about 1 1/2 miles away. So, to say the least, we left, and regret we could not see the antiquity of the city.
It has about 170,00 residents and has been a port city since of importance since late 1500's. The Medicis declared it a duty free port. That brought in immigrants from many other countries. Religion tolerance was also liberal, so a mix of people with varied beliefs located here.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
the climate in Livorno is so good that we actually don't have what you call a proper winter, just spring, summer and autumn
we are in January 2007 and it's already spring, flowers and plants blooming
red hot chilly pepper field close to my apartment
stroll around the promenade by the beachbe
i love strolling around with my friends' crazyass dog, the so called Dogatee or Manadog (in between a dog and a manatee),
i come here on foot or by bike almost everyday
i need to see the sea so bad everyday
this is me and my friend Nathalie holding the crazydog's leash
Livorno has got the old fortress on the harbour but in my wanderings I didn't see a lot of old stuff.
(And I never took a photo of the fortress. Dunno why. I did buy a fridge magnet of it. 7 euro!!!! Made me draw me breath in a bit but I really wanted a souvenir of Livorno. I also bought 31 Songs by Nick Hornby to give my son. But when I got home I found my daughter had sent it to him as a birthday present. Snap!)
Anyway. Old stuff.
Did they never have it? - I wondered to myself.
Were they just so pragmatic they ripped it down and built something useful?
Maybe a monster earthquake shook all the old stuff into piles of rubble.
Quite a puzzle.
Then I got talking to someone and they suggested that as the Allies landed on the coast near Livorno during WW2, maybe it all got blown to bits.
Having seen the bomb sites in Genoa, I thought this was quite a realistic assumption.
Just an afternote. I had such a lot of trouble finding somewhere to stay in Livorno on the internet. But when I got there hotels of all manner and description were thick on the ground.
See the hoarding pointing the way to yet another hotel?
PS I have been told this is the remains of a 19th century railway station.
And yes. Livorno got a hammering in WW2 because it had docks.
I was beginning to regret ...
... that I hadn't arrived in Livorno kitted out with waterproof beach bag and all the trimmings. Like I saw so many people on the bus kitted out with. (I would have added shady hat, sun tan lotion and dark glasses.)
Everyone lying down getting brown.
This might be the place to say that what struck me everywhere I went in Italy is how trim and active people are. You simply did not see overweight people. I saw young mothers wheeling their babies out and the young mothers looked great in their capri pants. I saw older gents with no belly on them at all. They can't all be sucking in their guts. And the strange thing is, they love their food so much!
I have a theory that it is the little rocket fuel coffees they drink. Called cafe normale. Yeah, sure. Normale for a rocket.
I saw quite a few coffee bars with no seats. My theory is you go in, order a cafe normale, choof it down, wait for it to hit, and you are already standing ready to fly off and be Italian. Active and trim.
BTW in the background is the Hotel Universal, if you are interested in its location.
They love the sun!
About a kilometre further on I came upon the full complement of arrangements for sea bathing and sun baking.
More sun baking than bathing.
There were sandy beaches with parasols and deck chairs. There was a swimming pool. There was this flight of stairs. Not sure of the point and purpose of them.
But saw two people stretched out like lizards on them. Really scarey stuff! Trying to cook themselves into a huge dose of skin cancer.
A Hungarian had told me that because there isn't a hole in the ozone layer that the sun doesn't burn you as much in Italy. Not like in Australia.
And I must say the little bits of my skin that were exposed didn't frizzle as much as they would have in Australia.
It was hot. But the sun didn't feel vicious.
Still, better safe than sorry.
I took my shoes off and put the feet into the Mediterranean for the very first time!
They appreciated it very much indeed.
Because, oh, how my feet suffered in Italy.
Take at least one other pair of feet with you because you will walk and walk and walk until the feet tell you to stop.
Stop, Jen. Stop right now. I can't do it anymore.
Then I went up the track again because the people obviously think it is their private beach. Difficult track, stony shore. If I hadn't spotted the hunk in speedos I would never have known about it.
I was about to start my walk back into town ...
... along what I found out to be an 18th century promenade, when I saw a young guy in speedos come up a tiny track.
So I went down the track thinking there was probably a beach and there was.
I hadn't yet found out how keen the Livornese are on the beach culture. And tanning. So I was surprised to see so many people had taken the mountain goat path down to this rocky beach. And to see a couple of them were very nearly done to a turn. Baked mahogany brown.
I took a bus
Bought a ticket at a news stand. In Livorno it is a bit less than 1 euro for 60 minutes. I waited at the bus stop for the first bus that came along.
Realised I was standing on the wrong side of the road.
Crossed the road, yelping with fear at the way the drivers don't slow down, or seem to see you, but just dodge you at the last moment.
The bus to Miramare came along.
I got on the bus and stamped my ticket in the machine.
And this is where I ended up.
There was a little cafe so I went in for a snack.
There was only a case of rather tired looking food. No menu.
The guy looked embarrassed when I didn't like the look of anything. Italians take such pride in their jobs. They are easily shamed.
So I picked the least unsavoury looking thing and asked for it - caldo.
Thinking that might cheer it up a bit.
He got it in his tongs and said - No caldo. Soft. Soft. Look.
It was just edible. The coffee was good though.
And there I was at Miramare.
The ambulance arrived ...
... for the second gent.
The paramedics patted him a lot too. It seemed to comfort him.
They loaded him into the back. He was talking voluably, waving his hands about, so I think he'll live.
I really wanted to take a photo of him being loaded, but it seemed a bit off.
The young helpers wheeled his vespa away.
I continued on my way.
Just a couple of bingles in Livorno.
No need to take it too seriously.
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