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.Add to your Trip Planner
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.Add to your Trip Planner
Refreshing sea breeze
I noticed a small window, low in the wall in a side chamber near the candles, that was open.
Outside young lads and their dog were larking about, sunbathing and joshing each other. I couldn't understand what they were saying. But I knew that was what they were doing.
So I sat in a pew right in the breeze and cooled off.
Then the priest came in with two older parishioners.
They gave me sharp, surprised glances.
I got that look a lot in Livorno.
So I left.
I do feel a bit embarrassed in Catholic churches because I don't know how to do that bob and cross yourself thing as I enter and leave.Add to your Trip Planner
fortress along the canals
Hey the red building u see on the right, used to be a fortress in ancient times to defend Livorno by the invasors
nowadays there is a park inside the fortress and it hosts a music festival with punk-hardcord-rock bands during the whole summer
it's a great atmoshere inside, nice people, very laid back
there's no place in Livorno for snobs!Add to your Trip Planner
very close to the mountain too
Livorno is a perfect city to live in Italy.
It has a very good climate the whole year round, something like Los Angeles, it's on the beach but it's also very close to the mountains (2 hours drive) and very close to important cities like Pisa ( 20minutes by car or train), Florence (50 minutes by car or train), Siena (40 minutes by car), San Gimignano and so on
Most young people, like me, usually go snowboarding on these mountains, they usually get a lot of snow and there are even snowparksAdd to your Trip Planner
This is one of my fave beaches to go when i have just a few hours to spend at the beach
this is just 5 minutes drive from where I live
the water is fabulous and clean
during the summer u will find a lot of people overnighting at the beach and partying their ass off the whole night hahaahAdd to your Trip Planner
isn't Vada beach BEAUTIFUL?
Would u ever think this is Toscany, Italy?
well, this is Livorno, the coolest city for young people to live in Italy I guess
there is no other place where people are open-minded , against ***head Berlusconi and friendly, but mostly people in Livorno won't speak behind your back!Add to your Trip Planner
Then an old gent on another vespa ran up onto the footpath and crunched himself. No idea why.
Everyone attending to the first accident turned around, flapped their arms shouting things like - Oh no! Not another one! - and ran across to help.
He didn't seem to want to stand up. A car stopped and thrust a bottle of water out the window to the helpers and sped off.
The helpers bathed his wounds with the water and patted him a lot.
I don't think an accident victim in the Antipodes would have been patted. But he didn't seem to mind being patted.Add to your Trip Planner
Churches not thick on the ground in Livorno
There are acres of churches in Rome. You are always tripping over them in Genoa. But In Livorno I had a particular reason to look for one, and realised there just weren't that many around.
My particular reason is I wanted to light a candle for some friends who had found themselves in a spot of bother. Not that I am religious, or anything. But I like to find a church, make an offering, light a candle and sit and think about whatever friends have got into a spot of bother.
This one was a very plain workaday church. No great art. Shabby around the edges. No candles burning.
I lit a candle for my friends. I lit one for my family. And then I did something I have never done before. I lit one for myself.Add to your Trip Planner
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.Add to your Trip Planner
this is another beach where I usually go with my boyfriend's dog
it's 15 minutes north of Livorno, half beach belongs to Pisa, half to Livorno.
I don't like the sea here, it's not clear cos of the currents and the nearby industrial port, but it's good for strollsAdd to your Trip Planner
I walk out of the church - and there were these two girls that had crunched the lovely new yellow vespa!
No sign of the rider.
But they looked quite insouciant so I reckoned they hadn't killed the rider.
They were standing in the middle of the road as the traffic roared round them.Add to your Trip Planner
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.Add to your Trip Planner
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.Add to your Trip Planner
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.Add to your Trip Planner
Spent 7 nights here in October, 2004. Staff is very helpful and attentive. Multilingual - most speak...more
Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 129, San Vincenzo, 57027, Italy
Good for: Solo
actually ,i live here so i tell you that this hotel is just in front of the sea...near you have the...more
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