Reap The Hidden Rewards Of Livorno With ShoreTrips | TravelResearchOnline

Reap The Hidden Rewards Of Livorno With ShoreTrips

Once under the rule of the infamous Medici family and one of its islands the setting for one of literature’s most captivating tales of betrayal, Livorno is one of the most understated of Tuscany’s destinations. This port is more than simply a dock to weigh anchor for cruise ships, but has a mysterious charm all its own. Most will immediately embark on the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but consider taking the time to explore the area’s towns and islands; you will be far from disappointed.

60-Second Geography

Livorno, Italy

Elba Island, Tuscany, Italy

[/media-credit] Elba Island, Tuscany, Italy

The town of Castagneto Carducci

[/media-credit] The town of Castagneto Carducci

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Livorno, Italy

[/media-credit] Leaning Tower of Pisa, Livorno, Italy

  • The second-largest city in Tuscany, Livorno has been settled by humans for thousands of years, based on copper and bone artifacts found in the area. With the rise of the Roman empire, Livorno became an important Roman port, and after its fall Florence became the jurisdiction of the Medici family. In the 16th century, plans were made to turn Livorno into the “ideal town” and was declared a “free port”, meaning the goods brought in were duty-free. During World War II, Livorno suffered heavy damage during the height of Italy’s Fascist movement, including valuable historical monuments and religious institutions. Today Livorno’s are more politically left-minded than Fascist, and is comprised of the Italian, Armenian, Greek, and Jewish communities.
  • Livorno is a popular port for cruise ships and sees thousands of visitors every year. Cruise lines that visit Livorno include Cunard, Holland America, Silversea, Princess, and Azamara Cruise Lines. The port is a major employer for the area, retaining 15,000 employees who service over 7,000 cruise ships annually. The port serves the popular Italian regions of Tuscany, Marche, Umbria, and Emilia-Romagna.
  • Built using the traditional Venetian methods of utilizing canals, the Quartiere La Venezia (or “Little Venice”) square was built during the 17th century. At the center of the square is the Fortezza Nuova, constructed during the reign of the Medicis. The waterways are accessible by boat, or follow them on land via the footpaths running adjacent. Cafes dot the waterside, and the canals are lined with the vibrancy and colors of the locals going about their day. On the western side stands the Chiesa di Santa Carina, a stone behemoth standing watch over the quarter.
  • One of the most whimsically designed terraces in Tuscany, the Terrazza Mascagni is a photo opportunity that any visitor to Livorno cannot afford to miss. The black and white checked stone balustrades alternate in a chessboard pattern, creating a fantastic scene during sunset. The terrazza is named after Pietro Mascagni, a native Livorno who received acclaim as an operatic composer. Mascagni wrote fifteen operas and one operetta during his lifetime, one of which caused an entire upheaval of the Italian opera scene, entitled Cavalleria Rusticana, a story of a soldier returning home who is angered when he finds out his fianceé has married someone else, and romances another woman in revenge.
  • Just west of Tuscany is the Tuscan archipelago, containing the Tuscan islands. These islands include many visitor favorites, such as Elba Island, and also historic and literary settings, such as Montecristo Island. The other five major islands in the archipelago are Capraia, Pianosa, Giglio, Gorgona, and Gianuttri. The most populated island is Elba with over 30,000 residents on the island, with the least populated being Montecristo with only 2 residents.
  • The island of Montecristo received its name from hermits who escaped to the caves on the island who dubbed the land “Mons Christi”, and from these hermits eventually rose a Benedictine monastery. Eventually the monastery was seized by pirates and the monks forced out, and other attempts to colonize the island never came to fruition. Eventually French author Alexander Dumas would choose this Italian island as the setting for his famous novel, The Count of Monte Cristo.
  • Elba island is the third largest island in Italy, after Sardinia and Sicily. This is the last remnant of the peninsula that once connected Italy to Corsica thousands of years ago. The island is now a biker’s paradise, with cycling roads zig-zagging all over the island’s terrain. There are also the typical Mediterranean beaches, making way for prime scuba diving excursions for experiences divers.

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PISA, FLORENCE & A TASTE OF CHIANTI

Our first stop, beating the crowds, will be in Pisa’s “Field of Miracles” where you will find the Duomo (cathedral), Baptistery, Campo Santo (cemetery) and, of course, Campanile, better known as the Torre Pendente — the Leaning Tower. Make sure to bring your camera!

When we arrive in Florence, you’ll get a stunning panoramic view of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo, high on the hill. Then, head to Santa Croce Church, where Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and Rossini are all buried.

SAN GIMIGNANO, SIENA & MONTERIGGIONI CASTLE

The 90-minute ride from Livorno will go by quickly as you drive through the beautiful Tuscany countryside (marvel at the rolling hills covered with vineyards and the silvery green olive groves) on your way to historic Monteriggioni Castle, the most majestic and best-fortified castle of the Italian Middle Ages. Monteriggioni Castle ensured freedom to the Republic of Siena until 1554 when, without any battle (and thanks to a betrayal), the city was conquered by the Florentines.

CINQUE TERRE & PISA

The Cinque Terre is a string of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. In each of the 5 towns, colorful houses and ancient vineyards cling to steep terraces, fishing boats bob in harbors and trattorias turn out seafood specialties along with the Liguria region’s most famous dish, pesto. To visit the Cinque Terre means to visit five villages suspended between sea and earth, clinging to the cliffs and surrounded by green hills. Here the sea, the hills, the vineyards, the old ancient villages, and the Genovese-style churches combine to result in breathtaking scenery. There are no cars and no noise, only nature.

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