Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Lake Bench

Bench in a puddle, Villa Fabbricotti, LivornoIn “Villa Fabbricotti”, a local park, this is the normal condition of the benches after heavy rains. The seat is almost dry, but absolutely beyond reach of any human without waterproof rubber boots.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Neptune and the Nereids

Neptune and the Nereids, fountain, LivornoRome, Naples, Bologna, Florence: all of them have a Fountain of Neptune, so a wealthy and enterprising Livornese decided that we had to have one too. Built in 1934, the fountain was then placed in a square now named after Giuseppe Emanuele Modigliani, the serious brother of the bohémien painter Amedeo.
Neptune and the Nereids, fountain, LivornoThe King of the Sea brandishes his trident, a quartet of lactating Nereids keeps him company along with a posse of various kinds of fishes, all of them happily sprinkling water around.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Window in Green

This beautiful window faces a square officially named “Piazza della Vittoria” (Victory Square). Anyway, if you ever come to Livorno, don't ask for it because, after 80 years, everybody still call it with its old name: “Piazza Magenta”.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lighthouse & Lamp Posts

Lighthouse, seafront, LivornoThree lamp posts and and the “fanale” few days ago, when the weather was better...

See also: Beacon of the Pisans

Monday, January 26, 2009

Three Little Owls

Billboards, newspapers, dailies, LivornoA newspaper billboard is called in italian “civetta”, which is literally little owl, but also means coquette, flirt or tease. So these devices are commonly referred as "civette" because their purpose is to entice the passer-by into buying the actual paper.
La Nazione” (The Nation), a florentine newspaper with a local news desk, is the oldest of the three: its first number made its appearance in 1859. It has a moderate conservative political line.
“Il Telegrafo” (The Telegraph) was born a moderate voice in 1877, switching to a more leftist point of view after the last war.
After several changes of heading, in 1976 became “Il Tirreno” for good. Edited and printed in Livorno it has the largest circulation and is a sort of local newspaper of record, extensively quoted in any conversation.
The “Corriere di Livorno” (Messenger of Livorno) issued its first copy only in September 2007. Its editorial offices are in “Piazza Attias”, just across the street from the above owls, and is co-owned by a local soccer star.

See also: Bad News

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce building, LivornoThe majestic building of the “Camera di Commercio” (Chamber of Commerce) was built in 1648 as a Customs House by Annibale Cecchi of Pistoia. It faces what is now “Piazza del Municipio” (Town Hall Square) and has an imposing portico, with three arches supported by rusticated sandstone pillars, closed by iron gates.Old print, Chamber of Commerce building, LivornoIf you compare the above photo with the same building in this print by the painter Giuseppe Maria Terreni (Livorno, 1739-1811), dating back to circa 1785, you can see no major differences after so many years.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Beyond the Gate

Gate of a villa, fountain, LivornoThe gate of a beautiful villa on “Via Montebello”. This street follows the path of the so called Lorraine or Leopoldine city walls, built in 1835 by the Grand Duke of Tuscany Leopold II and demolished in 1888.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Red Flowers

Red flowers, wall pots, via Magenta, LivornoEarly afternoon, wall pots with red flowers along a gray and quiet “Via Magenta”.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Everyday Chimera

Chimera, piazza Grande LivornoAll the transportation I need to go to work are my shoes. During this short walk to the office I pass near several things of interest and, by the way, I can also have a look at a Chimera. About this mythological creature Wikipedia says:

In Greek mythology, the Chimera was a monstrous creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, composed of the parts of multiple animals: upon the body of a lioness with a tail that terminated in a snake's head, the head of a goat arose on her back at the center of her spine.

I do not really know why they put this ceramic bas-relief of a giant Chimera on this ugly building facing “Piazza del Municipio” (Town Hall Square), but there it is in all its colorful madness.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bugs Bunny

Moby Aki ferry, IMO 9299393, LivornoThe fast cruiseferry “Moby Aki” in the “Porto Mediceo”. As usual Moby Lines ferries sport funny Looney Tunes liveries. A cruiseferry is a ship that combines the features of a cruise ship with a ferry. Many passengers travel with the ships for the cruise experience, staying only a few hours at the destination port or not leaving the ship at all, while others use the ships as means of transportation. Please note the odd Polish flag waving just in front of Bugs Bunny.

Update: it seems that the Polish flag is waving on the stern of the “Pogoria”, a training ship subject of another post.

Search labels: Moby - ferry

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Five and Five

La Vecchia Venezia restaurant pizzeria, Livorno
The Old Venice
Pizza and 5 & 5
take away
Typical Local Cooking - Grilled Meat and Fish
Quality Wines
Climatized premises - Reservations appreciated

Everything checks out, but what about “cinque e cinque” or 5 & 5?
Who of you, outside of Livorno, knows what a 5 & 5 is?Cinque e cinque, torta di ceci, LivornoMing was close to the truth: a five & five is a sandwich which, long time before the Euro, was just 5 cents (old italian lira) of bread and 5 cents of “torta”.
“Torta” is short for “torta di ceci” (literally chickpea pie) which local vendors prepare with water, chickpea flour, salt and a bit of olive oil. The batter is poured in large pans called “teglie” and baked preferably in a wood oven.
The resulting thin pie (more a pancake) is crunchy and crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, and you have to eat it hot, with a sprinkling of ground pepper. You can eat it in slices like pizza or in a sandwich and... voilĂ  the “cinque e cinque”!

See also: Gold of Pisa

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mural Crown

Coat of arms, LivornoLast year Livorno changed its coat of arms and swapped its traditional gems crown for a mural crown with eight turrets (five visibles).
Of a mural crown Wikipedia says:
The term is also used in heraldry to denote a crown modeled after the walls of a castle. In recent times, mural crowns have been used in opposition to royal crowns; they are typical of Italian medieval and modern Communes. A mural crowned lady, Italia Turrita, is a symbol of Italy. In Italy, communes have a mural crown on their coat of arms, golden, with five towers, for cities.Coat of arms, LivornoThe municipality spent some time, and probably some money, on this quest for heraldic certainty, with the help of a few consultants and an exchange of letters between Livorno and Rome.
Fine, but now the sea is flooding the main gate...

See also: Town Hall - Piazza del Municipio - Coat of Arms

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Beacon of the Pisans

Fanale dei Pisani, Pisans' lighthouse, LivornoThe “Fanale dei Pisani” (literally Pisans' beacon) is the main lighthouse of the port of Livorno. It is an imposing structure 52 meter tall and, obviously, here is simply called “fanale”. The Repubblica di Pisa, which in the 13th century was interested in the hamlet of Livorno and its harbour, built the tower around 1305 on the south of the entrance to the port. They needed to replace the lighthouse on the Meloria islet, destroyed by the Genoeses in the naval battle of 1284.
Through the centuries bonfires on the top were substituted by an oil lamp, then by a gas lantern and at last by electricity. The six hundred years old tower was demolished by German sappers in 1944. After the war the Fanale has been faithfully rebuilt, mainly out of the original wreckage, coming back in service in 1956.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chili Pepper & Macchiaioli

Giovanni FattoriGiovanni Fattori, born in Livorno in 1825, was one of the leaders of the Macchiaioli group of painters, the Tuscan forerunners of the Impressionists. In Largo del Cisternino his statue is looking quite puzzled at the shop sign, which says: “Peperoncino. Lusso no grazie! Solo stile e buon gusto” (Chili pepper. Luxury no thank you! style and taste only).

External links: Giovanni Fattori - Macchiaioli (Wikipedia)

Friday, January 16, 2009


Gazebo, Terrazza Mascagni, LivornoDestroyed during the Second World War, the Gazebo has been rebuilt in 1998 on the same site and almost as an exact replica of the original, as you can see from the period postcard.Old postcard, gazebo, Terrazza Mascagni, LivornoThe first Gazebo was built in 1935 by the architect Ghino Venturi at the south end of the “Terrazza Mascagni” (then Terrazza Ciano). The construction, shaped as a round temple, was intended as a bandstand.

Search labels: Terrazza Mascagni

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Crab Catcher

Crab catcher, Terrazza Mascagni, LivornoIt's a sunny but cold day in January and this man in waterproof gear is tirelessly wading through the shallow waters in front of the Terrazza Mascagni. He is fishing for crabs of a kind called favollo (warty crab), enticing the crustaceans out of their hidings with some bait at the end of a rod and deftly grabbing his prey as soon as it shows up. With care, because the little creatures are mean pinchers with their powerful claws.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Terrazza Mascagni

Terrazza Mascagni, LivornoThe “Terrazza Mascagni” is an elegant promenade by the sea with a wonderful view over the Tyrrhenian sea and the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. It was built in the 1920's and named “Terrazza Ciano” after Costanzo Ciano, the local fascist leader and father of Galeazzo Ciano, who in 1930 married Mussolini's daughter Edda.
Terrazza Mascagni in a 1932 postcard, Livorno
After the war the name was aptly changed to honor Pietro Mascagni, the opera composer, but the old name stuck until the 1960's. As you can see this beautiful stretch of “lungomare” (seafront) leads you to the rebuilt Gazebo and to the recently reopened Grand Hotel Palazzo. The “Bagni Pancaldi Acquaviva”, on the right in this photo, is a beach resort already famous in 19th century.

Search labels: Terrazza Mascagni
See also: Tiles - Balustrades - Whitecaps - At the “Terrazza” - Saint Sylvester - Theme Day: Postcard-worthy - Beyond the Balustrade

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Painted roller shutter, via Palestro, LivornoThis shop in “Via Palestro” has probably the most colourful roller shutter door in town. The sign says: fruit and vegetables, Mimmo's, pet food. In the rest of Italy you will probably read “cibo” instead of "mangiare" which is not wrong, but a little too vernacular.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Anglers in the Harbour

Fishing in the new harbor, port of Livorno
Every ship built in the former Orlando shipyard was launched in this basin. The street in the background is Scali Novi Lena and you can see on the left the building of the Nautical Institute of Livorno. And... this is Trillian's first experiment in B&W!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Four Moors

Four Moors, Quattro Mori, monument, LivornoThis is the oldest and most popular monument in Livorno, celebrating a victory of the Medici over the pirates who roamed the Mediterranean.Four Moors, Quattro Mori, monument, LivornoThe statue of Ferdinando I was sculpted in Carrara marble by the florentine Giovanni Bandini in 1595 but placed on its plinth only in 1617, under the rule of his son Cosimo II.Four Moors, Quattro Mori, monument, LivornoThe “Quattro Mori” (Four Moors), by Pietro Tacca from Carrara, were added later, in couples, between 1623 and 1626. The artist used two real prisoners as models, rewarded with freedom at the end of the pose.Four Moors, Quattro Mori, monument, LivornoTo make way for a new road, in 1861 the monument was moved back 20 meters to its present position facing the Darsena (the oldest part of the port).Four Moors, Quattro Mori, monument, LivornoDuring the last war the statues were transported for safekeeping to the countryside, to protect them from the Allied air raids.
(Updated February 2010)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

No 9 to 5er

24/7 votive shrine, Livorno
The sign "24 ore", not so respectfully placed, means 24 hours a day as in 24/7 and marks a nearby cigarette vending machine.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cartoon Boat

Bright colored boat, port of LivornoWalking around the “Porto Mediceo” we found this colorful boat: it seems to be straight out of a cartoon!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Barbarians at the Front Door

Tagged wall and front door, LivornoThis is not our typical front door, they (the barbarians) usually write and draw on walls everywhere, but still have some respect for doors. More similar masterpieces will be posted...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Mascagni vs Puccini

Plaque on the site of Pietro Mascagni birthplace, LivornoIn a previous post I wrote about the now demolished birthplace of Pietro Mascagni. This is the original plaque, now placed on the the new building.
Sorry, but the translation cannot be literal because the text is a bit too bombastic:

On December 7th 1863 Pietro Mascagni was born in this house. He gave to the world inspired and original melodies and with his immortal operas made Livorno, as already are Pesaro, Catania and Busseto, world famous.
Plaque restored care of the local council - March 1980

The city quoted are Pesaro for Gioacchino Rossini, Catania for Vincenzo Bellini and Busseto for Giuseppe Verdi. Carefully omitted is Lucca for Giacomo Puccini: “things” between Tuscans?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Moby Love

Moby Love, LivornoA detail of the ferry Moby Love moored in a storm of kisses at the “Porto Mediceo” (port of the Medici). Moby Lines ships have funny liveries usually painted with Looney Tunes characters but in this case the author is the famous cartoonist Mordillo. These ferries serve routes to Olbia (Sardinia) the whole year and to Bastia (Corsica) april to september.

Search labels: Moby - ferry

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Half-Dome Fad

Cisternone by Pasquale Poccianti, LivornoThe “Cisternone” (large cistern) is the largest of the three cisterns of Livorno: it was built between 1829 and 1842 on a project by the architect Pasquale Poccianti (1774-1858). The building appears quite unusual in its design, due to the open dome which resembles a cut-away architectural model, appearing as a half-dome or “semi-cupola”.Old postcard, Cisternone by Pasquale Poccianti, LivornoThis cistern was (and still is) used for water storage and treatment before distribution. A later removal of the gravel filtering system enhanced its maximum capacity up to 2.6 million gallons of water (10.000 cubic metres).Naumburg Bandshell by William G. Tachau, New YorkThe “Cisternone” was also considered as an inspiration for several half-dome bandshells, such as the famous Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park, New York, designed by William G. Tachau in 1916.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Island Prison

Patrol boat to Gorgona island, port of LivornoA patrol boat of the Italian Penitentiary Police exiting the harbor, probably directed to the penal colony of Gorgona, an island in the Tuscan Archipelago about 37 km west of Livorno.Gorgona island mapGorgona is still an administrative division of the municipality of Livorno, but access to the island for not residents is allowed only with the permission of the Italian Justice Department.

External links: Gorgona - Tuscan Archipelago (Wikipedia)
Search labels: Gorgona

Friday, January 2, 2009

Wilhelm Oberdank

Bust of Guglielmo Oberdan by Ermenegildo BoisWilhelm Oberdank, who italianicized his name to Guglielmo Oberdan, was an Italian irredentist executed in 1882 after a failed assassination attempt on the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria.
Just before his hanging he cried “Viva l'Italia” (Long live Italy!), estabilishing his reputation as a martyr of the Italian National cause. Statues of him were erected in towns and cities throughout unified Italy.
You can see this bust, sculpted by Ermenegildo Bois in 1928, in piazza dei Mille (The Thousand square), of Garibaldine memoirs.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Kayaking in Livorno

Kayak, Fosso Reale, LivornoAs you can see, after the igloos, we are trying kayaks along our canals. I am still checking about dog sleds... Who knows?