Earlier in the year, Guy & Bob (his American buddy) went to Livorno on the train for the day because we had been told that it is quite an interesting city.
Lyn couldn't come at the time because she was at her printmaking course, so we both decided that we would go back again and spend some time walking around the canal system and city during a weekend.
The day we chose was perfect - sunny and cool (and not very many tourists!), so we really enjoyed this trip. We had bought a voucher for a canal tour called "Livorno in Battello" that takes about one hour. This tour only runs in the tourist season, so we had until the end of October to participate in it.

Not very many people know that Livorno has a canal system similar to Venice and that people actually refer to Livorno as "little Venice".
Local "Streets"
The Old Residential District

The main streets of Livorno also have the same feel as Bologna, with wide boulevards and covered pavements in the city centre.
Walking in Livorno is completely different to walking in the narrow lanes and alleys of Florence.

Down by the waterfront of the inner harbour where the fishing boats tie up , there is a huge (and very unusual) statue made of marble and bronze.
It is called "I Quattro Mori" which means "The Four Moors".
It was built in two stages. The first stage was a statue of King Ferdinand 1st in 1617, erected to commemorate his death 9yrs earlier.
Between 1623 and 1626, the four bronze corner statues of chained Moorish slaves were added and the composite statue is supposed to represent victory over the pirates in the Mediterranean.
"I Quattro Mori"
In the middle of the city, there is a huge covered market ("Mercato Centrale").
The building has been recently fully restored and is quite something to walk around.
The "Mercato Centrale" As Seen From The Canal
With The Loading Dock Below
The building is split into three main sections with general goods being sold at one end of the section selling meat and small goods.
Meat Section
Vegetable Section
Fish Section
The canal tour began at the "New Fortress" which is a island fort built on the canal system further inland from the original fortress on the seafront. This "new fort" was built in the 1500s!
This area is now a park that can only be accessed from a pedestrian bridge from the mainland.
A View Of The "New Fortress" From The Tour Starting Point
The tour was in an open boat with guide that only spoke Italian (because we were the only English-speaking tourists), but Lyn & I "sort of" understood enough to follow the commentary and the sights were interesting enough without a constant barrage of information.
Cruising Around The Outside Of The "New Fort"
Our Guide With Some Canal Apartments In The Background
The "Ponte di Marmo" (Bridge Of Marble)
(The Entrance To The Old Residential District)
Very Old "Good-Luck" Marks Left On The Ponte Di Marmo
By Departing Livornese Fishermen
One Of The Many Interesting Bridges
"Venezia" (Venice) in Livorno!
The Old Waterfront Area
The Statue Of "I Quattro Mori" Is In The Background
The "Old Fort" On The Inner Harbour
Another View Of The Old Fort
The Only Entrance To The Sea
One Of The Island Ferries In Port
Private Yachts In The Harbour

"Hold Your Childrens' Hands!"
Is That While The car Is Going Into The Water?

A Modern Bridge Over One Of The Canals.
The Central Market Building Is In The left Background

One very interesting aspect of the canal system is that it runs right under the main square of Livorno, going from one end of Piazza Della Repubblica to the other. This must have been a huge feat of engineering to undertake and is very impressive.
Piazza Della Repubblica
Canal Entry At One End Of The Piazza
Underneath The Middle Of The Piazza
Light Wells For The Tunnel (Metal Grids In The Piazza)

A Fisherman At The Other End
The Fishermen Love The Canals!
A Local Fisherman Repairing Nets
The Fish Market On The Waterfront

We caught the train back in the afternoon and we both decided that Livorno was a great place to visit- if we ever come back for an extended period of time, this would be a nice place to stay.
As well as the canals there is also a big aquarium, a water park and nice beaches that are only a bus ride away.


  1. Terrific photos! The Mercato Centrale reminds me a bit of the Royal Exhibition Building, similar colours and internal appearance.