Thursday, April 30, 2009

Faventibus Ventis

Palinuro training ship, Livorno“Faventibus ventis”, the Latin for “by favourable winds”, is the motto of the tall ship “Palinuro”, named with the Italian form of the Latin Palinurus. In Roman mythology Palinurus was the helmsman of a ship of the Trojan hero Aeneas. Venus, the mother of Aeneas, pledged the life of Palinurus to Neptune, god of the sea, as the price for the safe passage of Aeneas and his people from Troy to Italy.Palinuro training shipHere our “Palinuro” is safely moored in front of the Lonely Tunesque “Moby Wonder” and the “Oosterdam”, a cruise ship of the Holland America Line.

External links: Palinurus (Wikipedia)
See also: Palinuro - Palinuro and Vespucci - Tall Ships Walk - Moby Wonder

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Training ship PalinuroThe training ship “Palinuro” arrived yesterday in Livorno for the 26th TAN (Naval Academy Trophy), an annual set of sailboat races taking place every spring.Training ship PalinuroAfter the war the “Cristoforo Colombo”, sister ship of the “Amerigo Vespucci”, was given to the USSR as war damage compensation. The Navy then bought the “Commandant Louis Richard”, a sailing ship built in Nantes in 1934 and used for fishing in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.Training ship PalinuroThe vessel was refitted in the Navy yard of La Spezia and transformed in a school ship, entering service in 1955. The “Palinuro”, technically a barquentine, is 69 meters long and has a sail surface of about 1,000 square meters.

External links: Palinuro - Barquentine - Amerigo Vespucci - Cristoforo Colombo (Wikipedia)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

That's Life

Fisherman at work, Porto Mediceo, LivornoFew days ago, when the sun was still shining over Livorno, someone had found his place in the world.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rainy Day

Bench under the rain, via Magenta, LivornoA Sunday of unceasing rain, but I am here in Via Magenta, under the awning of a shop, taking pictures of an iron bench.
Never give up, never surrender!

“Never give up, never surrender” is not my motto but a quote from the science fiction comedy “Galaxy Quest”, a 1999 parody inspired by the television series Star Trek.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Duomo di Livorno

Cathedral of San Francesco (Saint Francis), LivornoThe Cathedral of San Francesco (Saint Francis), the “Duomo” of Livorno, stands in what is now “Piazza Grande”, at the center of the Pentagonal City devised by the architect Bernardo Buontalenti (1536-1608).Cathedral destroyed by air raids, LivornoPractically rebuilt after the last war, the Cathedral preserves many features of the original building, erected between the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 17th Century by Alessandro Pieroni and Antonio Cantagallina.

See also: Around the Duomo

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tug's Life

Tugboat, cargo ship San Felipe, port of LivornoThe “San Felipe”, a 166 meters container ship, enters the port of Livorno assisted by the tugboat “Porto di Livorno”.

About the bulbous bow Wikipedia says: the bulb modifies the way the water flows around the hull, reducing drag and thus increasing speed, range, fuel efficiency, and stability.

Search labels: tug

Friday, April 24, 2009

Iron Leaves

Wrought iron leaves, Mercato Centrale, LivornoThere are iron leaves under the ceiling of the “Mercato Centrale” (Central Market). Few days ago a friend (thank you Stefano!) escorted me on 30-meter high scaffolding and gangways to get some interesting close-ups of this decorated lattice-work. The heavy leaves are bolted and also secured with a short chain, to avoid accidental falls.Wrought iron leaves, Mercato Centrale, LivornoThe inside of the historical market has been just restored to its 19th century splendor and works are still in progress in other parts of the building.

See also: Mercato Centrale
Search labels: Mercato Centrale

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Four Musketeers

d'Artagnan, Villa Fabbricotti, LivornoThis is a quiz, but I do not know the answer. In the park of “Villa Fabbricotti” near a building which hosts the “Biblioteca dei ragazzi” (Children's Library) you can find these statues, partially hidden in a secluded spot.
Athos, Villa Fabbricotti, LivornoI remember them from when I was a boy prowling the park and snubbing the library. After few years and many books I learned that they represented the Three Musketeers, which obviously were four.
Aramis, Villa Fabbricotti, LivornoInside the park there are statues of the likes of Modigliani, Mascagni, Carducci, but these four were the only I knew and I cared for. These are not great work of art, but this was and is beyond my interest.
Porthos, Villa Fabbricotti, LivornoWhat about the quiz? I simply can't remember which statue represent each one of the Musketeers. I could easily place one, maybe two, but I'm not sure. Anybody willing to help?

With informations and sound logic Malyss has persuaded me that the statues are: d'Artagnan, Athos, Aramis and Porthos. Thanks to her and to everybody who has commented, trying or not an answer.

Latest update: everything said above is wrong, please read our Wrongheaded post setting the record straight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dandelion Clock

Dandelion clock, LivornoI can't find any blooming magnolia, so I settled for a modest dandelion, caught just in front of “Santa Maria del Soccorso”. I am so sad, but I'll keep looking...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Pogoria training ship, LivornoNot exactly your traditional type of sailor in build and dress, this guy is going to climb the ratlines of “Pogoria”.
Pogoria training ship, LivornoAn there he is, after a couple of minutes, on the third yard of the fore-mast.

See also: Pogoria - Signora del Vento

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bear Curtains

Bear shaped curtains, LivornoWindows are interesting and I have seen several of them with various trappings, but these teddy bear curtains are a first. You have to remember that in Livorno a teddy bear wears a bra.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Half a Church

Saint Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church, LivornoIn another post I stated that in “Via della Madonna” there are two and half churches. Maybe half is still too much because, after the last war, of “San Gregorio Illuminatore” (Saint Gregory the Illuminator) the only part still standing was the façade.
The church was built in 1716 for a thriving Armenian community on a project by Ferdinando de' Medici, Grand Prince of Tuscany, by the architect Giovanni Del Fantasia. The statue of San Gregorio and the allegorical representations of Faith and Charity are by the sculptor Andrea Vaccà.Saint Gregory the Illuminator, plaque in Armenian, LivornoIf, by any chance, you are fluent in Armenian, you could easily get further information about this church from the above plaque.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Federica's Corner

“L'angolo di Federica” (Federica's Corner) is a colorful shop in “Via Maggi”, near the youngest square in Livorno, “Piazza Giorgio Caproni”, just turned two month old. Please notice the small welcome sign in English, on the right of the giant sunflower.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Monument to Count Camillo Benso di Cavour by the sculptor Vincenzo Cerri, LivornoThe solemn statue of Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, is placed on a plinth in the middle of the central square bearing his name. The monument was completed in 1871 by the sculptor Vincenzo Cerri. The reddish building in background is called “Palazzo Rosso” (Red Palace) and its back entrance is adorned by a pair of “topless sphinxes ”. Henry James, who vehemently disliked our Four Moors, said of this statue:

I must add that on the other hand there is a very well-conditioned and, in attitude and gesture, extremely natural and familiar statue of Cavour in one of the city squares...
(Henry James, “Italian Hours”, Tuscan Cities, London, Heinemann, 1909)

See also: Henry James - Palazzo Rosso - Topless Sphinx - Four Moors
External links: Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour - Henry James (Wikipedia)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Judas Tree

Judas Tree, City Center Park, LivornoFew days ago in a secluded small park called “Centro Città”, just off “Via Ricasoli”, in central Livorno.
Judas Tree, City Center Park, Livorno

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Signora del Vento

Signora del Vento, LivornoThe “Signora del Vento” (Lady of the Wind) is a three masted sailing vessel built in 1962 in Gdańsk, Poland, originally as a multi purpose ship. After extensive works, in 1989 the boat became the barquentine “Gopło” and was used for sail training and cruises. In 2006 this 85 meters ship was bought and refitted by the Società Italiana di Navigazione (Italian Society of Navigation).
Signora del Vento, LivornoThe figure-head of the “Signora del Vento” is a work realized by the German artists Birgit and Claus Hartmann. As you can see from her website, the “Signora” is a sort of training ship with luxury accomodations and is available for charter. Usually based in Civitavecchia, she has on her stern the unlikely home port of Rome.

See also: Pogoria

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Henry James

Quattro Mori (Four Moors), LivornoThe american author Henry James (1843-1916) published “Italian Hours” in 1909, collecting essays written in over forty years of traveling about Italy.
“Tuscan Cities” was first published on “The Nation” in 1874, here is a not too flattering excerpt on Livorno and its “Four Moors”:

In a shabby corner near the docks stands a statue of one of the elder Grand Dukes of Tuscany, appealing to posterity on grounds now vague--chiefly that of having placed certain Moors under tribute.
Four colossal negroes, in very bad bronze, are chained to the base of the monument, which forms with their assistance a sufficiently fantastic group; but to patronise the arts is not the line of the Livornese, and for want of the slender annuity which would keep its precinct sacred this curious memorial is buried in dockyard rubbish.

(Henry James, “Italian Hours”, Tuscan Cities, London, Heinemann, 1909)

See also: Four Moors - Cavour

Monday, April 13, 2009

King of the Harbour

King of the Harbour, cat, Porto Mediceo, LivornoI was taking some photos at the entrance of the “Porto Mediceo” when I met this haughty and unflappable cat. He was clearly at ease on the rocks, under a tepid sun, with half a dozen humans fishing nearby. Now and then they feed him, and a couple of lesser acolytes, with the smaller catches. I was kindly allowed a few shots, then he dismissed me, slightly waving his tail.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Weather Vane

Weather vane of San Giovanni Battista church, Saint John the Baptist, LivornoThe weather vane of “San Giovanni Battista” (Saint John the Baptist), one of the oldest church in Livorno.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Automatic Free Shop

Automatic Free Shop, vending machines, LivornoI found this gaudy shop in Corso Amedeo. Open 24/7 and filled with vending machines, it is actually called: “Automatic Free Shop”. Everything here may be automatic, but surely it is not for free.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Moby Prince

Moby Price memorial plaque, Porto Mediceo, LivornoIn Italy today is a national day of mourning for the victims of the earthquake in Abruzzo. In Livorno this is also the anniversary of the tragedy of the ferry Moby Prince.
Here is the entry of Wikipedia about the event:

On April 10, 1991, at 22.23, the ship collided with the oil tanker Agip Abruzzo in Livorno harbour and it caught fire killing 140 people. Not all the deaths were caused by the fire; it has been reported that a large portion of the victims died intoxicated by massive toxic inhalations, while they were gathered in the main internal room of the ship.
The operations of rescue were managed badly; the may day sent from the Moby Prince, very weak, wasn't apparently heard from the radar officers of Livorno. The rescue teams were deployed only on the Agip Abruzzo. Initially the commander of Agip Abruzzo thought that the ship hit was a small bettolina, and also said to the rescuers “Not to exchange our ship with that”.
Only some volunteers managed to approach the ferry, rescuing only a single survivor, a mariner from Naples. Despite this mariner reporting that there were still survivors on the burning ferry, nobody climbed on the wreck to rescue them.
When the rescuers entered the wreck the following morning, they found only dead bodies. Initially the crash was attributed to a very thick fog, but some amateur video footage excluded this possibility.

The photo shows the memorial plaque inside the Porto Mediceo.

Search labels: Moby - ferry

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Red Flower

Red flower, table at Le Cristal, LivornoIn the early afternoon of Sunday I walked by “Le Cristal”, a restaurant and wine-bar near the Nautical Institute. They were just opening and placing these welcome flowers on the tables.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Buying a Superyacht

Benetti Yachts, Porto Mediceo, LivornoProbably these boats don't qualify for the term “superyacht” because they are only in the 30 meters range, but someone is actually asking the price... The grey crane behind the boats is the 72 meters high sheerleg “Italia”, its arm has a lifting capacity of 1000 tons.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Plaque, Arabesque, school of dance, LivornoThe tiled sign of the “Arabesque” school of dance in “Via San Carlo”.

Monday, April 6, 2009

YM Orchid

YM Orchid, IMO 9198276, LivornoThe container ship “YM Orchid” (275 meters of length and 40 of beam) dwarfs the pilot boat.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Red Brick Church

San Francesco, Saint Francis church, Old Fortress, Fortezza VecchiaOn the main level of the “Fortezza Vecchia” an old brick church had been practically rebuilt after the damages of the last war. The tiny building sits just on top of the huge fortress, more than ten meters above the sea level, built of the same red brickwork of the old bastions. The original church dated around the second half of 15th century and was dedicated to San Francesco (Saint Francis).

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Piazza della Vittoria, LivornoThe British consul Montgomery Carmichael with all his love for Leghorn “la cara”, could not have imagined the impact of his son Giovanni Domenico on the life of the Livornesi.
Giovanni Domenico already had an italian name but his friends called him “Ménio”, short for Domenico and obviously eating the “c”.
In 1904, on the grass on the side of Santa Maria del Soccorso (now Piazza della Vittoria), Ménio and his friends played the first ever football (soccer) game in town.
He had learned the rules of the game from the sailors of British ships playing on the docks and, with this historical game, sparkled what became in the years a real passion for the Livornesi.
Today, when the local team (A.S. Livorno) plays, streets are empty, the stadium is crammed and almost everybody is at home watching the game on TV.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Grand Hotel Palazzo

Grand Hotel Palazzo, LivornoThe “Grand Hotel Palazzo” seems to be one of the finest hotels in Italy, its location can't be better: on the sea, at the southern end of the “Terrazza Mascagni”. It has all the amenities of five stars hotels: sauna, fitness center, turkish bath, solarium, roof garden, restaurants and bars. It has been recently refurbished to its 19th century glory and has more than 120 rooms and suites over four floors. Top floor rooms have private terraces.Old postcard, Grand Hotel Palazzo, LivornoThe statue of Benedetto Brin, founder of the “Accademia Navale”, is now placed opposite the church of “San Jacopo”. Where once the statue was, now stands the Neptune fountain, whereas the tower is long gone.

See also: Terrazza Mascagni - Neptune and the Nereids - San Jacopo in Acquaviva
External links: Grand Hotel Palazzo (Official website)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cages & Palm Trees

Cages and palm trees, LivornoHere people are crazy for palms: they'll do everything to grab a few young trees, which aren't so easy to find in Livorno. Palm trees for public use have to be grown in cages at the now defunct zoo, known as “Parterre”.
Cages and palm trees, LivornoWith the coming Palm Sunday surveillance will be increased, not only because of obsessed garden owners. Local youngsters are eager to make a profit from this Holiday, selling leaves to the faithfuls for the Sunday blessing.

Before further commenting, please notice the date of the post!

Theme Day: Yellow

Corsica-Sardinia ferry, boat, LivornoThe crew of ITN 2 seems to have found the “secret” door into a “Sardinia Ferry”... (Actually it is a Corsica-Sardinia ferry, exactly the same seen in this post)

See also: ITN 1 - Sine Sole Sileo
Search labels: Moby - ferry