Friday, July 31, 2009


Weather wane, Town Hall, LivornoOn the weather vane on top of the Town Hall of Livorno we can see the Latin word “Fides” (trust). In 1496 Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor, was at war with the Florentine Republic, so an imperial army laid siege to Livorno to cut Florence access to the sea, while a fleet blockaded the port. Hundreds of peasants from the boroughs aronnd the town, tired of past destruction, volunteered to join the defense.Villano, peasant statue, LivornoA legend says that a “villano” (peasant), Guerrino of Montenero, distinguished himself leading his men in the defence of the old fort. It seems that he even shot with a falconet the Emperor himself, barely missing and tearing one of his brocade sleeves. After three weeks of siege some unespected help came with a “libecciata” (gale force wind) that destroyed part of the imperial fleet and ravaged the camp of the assailants, leading the Emperor to end his siege.Villano, peasant statue, LivornoThe grateful Florence gave the Livornesi the right to fly a standard with “Fides” written on it, a word that now shows up on every coat of arms of Livorno. A first monument “al villano” (to the peasant) was then erected at the bastion successfully defended by Guerrino and his men: the work represented a man with a dog, as a symbol of trust. The statue we see today is the third incarnation of the monument: it is a work of Vitaliano De Angelis and Giulio Guiggi and was erected in “Largo Fratelli Rosselli” in 1956 to replace a more ancient artifact lost in the last war.

See also: Town Hall
External links: Maximilian I - Holy Roman Emperor - Republic of Florence - Falconet (Wikipedia)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

At First Sight

Inside the Porto Mediceo, LivornoWe have already seen that the port of Livorno suffers some days of cruise ships overcrowding. A giant new pier called “Molo Italia” has been already built, but it seems that it's not going to be fully operative for this season.Cruise ship, Porto Mediceo, LivornoIn a hurry, a pier of the former shipyard has been cleared of cranes and rails and, last week, received its first cruise ships. Shuttle buses and vans carry the passengers in town, which is somewhat in walking distance from this improvised terminal.Cruise ship, Porto Mediceo, LivornoWhat about the first photo? It is the first thing of Livorno the lucky passengers see coming down the ramp...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Moby Tommy

Moby Tommy ferry, IMO 92213110, LivornoAfter so many months spent in “flying gulls” practice, it is quite easy to shoot a ferry: huge, clearly visible and firmly tied to several heavy bollards. Feeling overconfident, I tried a riskier move: to catch the “Moby Tommy” while leaving port at a couple of knots.Moby Tommy ferry, IMO 92213110, LivornoThe “Moby Tommy” is one of the Moby Lines cruiseferries linking Livorno with Olbia, in Sardinia. Their Looney Tunes liveries never cease to amaze me.

Search labels: Moby - ferry

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Harbour Seagulls

Seagull, port, harbor, LivornoI have been trying hard to catch a seagull in flight, but it is not easy with the zoom at full power, this is the best I got last Friday.Seagull, port, harbor, LivornoAfter City Seagulls, I tried to catch these birds in their more favorable environment, the harbour.Seagull, port, harbor, LivornoI am not sure this is a seagull proper, I found it almost mimetic in this kind of sea. Any advice from experts about this bird would be welcome.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Benefactors' Room

Istituto Pietro Mascagni, LivornoHere is the conference room of the “Istituto Pietro Mascagni”, which is not really part of the academy because the Province of Livorno, owner of the premises, reserved this room for itself.Coat of arms of Livorno, Istituto Pietro Mascagni, LivornoIt is a quite austere room with parquet flooring, furnished only with a large polished table surrounded by period chairs. The cassoon ceiling is more ornated, showing, amidst many other decorations, the coats of arms of Livorno as municipality and as province.Coat of arms of the province of Livorno, Istituto Pietro Mascagni, LivornoThe third shield ought to be an older version of the crest of the local Chamber of Commerce, now simplified with the boat part only.Crest of the Chamber of Commerce of Livorno, Istituto Pietro Mascagni, LivornoThe last shield is the well known coat of arms of the House of Savoy, the royal family who ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1861 until 1946.Coat of arms of the House of Savoy, Istituto Pietro Mascagni, LivornoA stone plaque outside this room says “Sala dei Benefattori” (Benefactors' Room), reminding us that here is where patrons and administrators of the former hospice once kept their meetings.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Abandoned Church

Detail of the Dutch church, LivornoThe Dutch-German Congregation was established in 1622 to represent the large community of Flemish and German merchants present in Livorno since the begin of the 17th Century.
The Gothic Revival temple of the Dutch-German Congregation is one of the few non-Catholic churches in Livorno and was built in 1864 on a project by the architect Dario Giacomelli. It was aptly built on the “Scali degli Olandesi” (“scali” is any street along a canal and “Olandesi” is Dutchmen) along the “Fosso Reale”.Old postcard of the Dutch church, LivornoIt is one of the three landmarks, all from the 19th Century, gracing the “Fosso Reale” in the tract where I live. The others are the “Mercato Centrale” and the the Benci elementary school.
Dutch church, LivornoThe Congregation in 1903 purchased an excellent organ of the renowned firm Agati-Tronci, probably the best instrument in Tuscany. The church survived unscathed the bombings of the last war but the organ was taken away by some connoisseur looter.Dutch church, LivornoThe temple is now abandoned and the risk of a collapse of the roof is high. The entrance and the front are protected by scaffolding and many of the ornamental parts of the facade are now lost. The second image is an old postcard where we can see the church in pristine conditions.

Search labels: Dutch church
See also: Scali degli Olandesi - Chiesa degli Olandesi - Sad Preview - A lecture - Finale - A Ray of Hope - Falling to Pieces - Flying Rats - Another Collapse - Fenced Off - Piazza Poerio - The Places I Love - A Few More Votes - Rose Window - Second Place?
External links: Temple of the Dutch German Congregation (Wikipedia)
Facebook Group: “Salviamo la chiesa degli Olandesi a Livorno” (Save the Dutch church in Livorno)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mercatino Americano

The new Mercatino Americano, LivornoThe “Mercatino Americano” (american market) changes location. It has been in “Piazza XX Settembre” for almost sixty years and today open its new stalls inside the port area. These absolutely fresh photos show that, the day first of the opening, works are still in progress.The new Mercatino Americano, LivornoThe market thrived soon after the last war with the opening of Camp Darby, the large American base in Tombolo, between Livorno and Pisa. In the first years much stuff arrived straightly from the base, in a way or the other, or from the port, usually in the other way. Some contraband was sold here, along with counterfeit tapes.The new Mercatino Americano, LivornoIn the 70's people came from all over Italy to buy stuff there, the most frequent question a Livornese was asked by a tourist was: where is the “Mercatino Americano”? Gradually the market specialized in army surplus, camping gear and clothes, with the late addition of electronics and cell phones.The new Mercatino Americano, LivornoIts glory days were way over and many stalls were already closed, the rest are reopening today afternoon in this new area.

See also: Forlorn Gran Duke - Nuovo Mercatino Americano

Friday, July 24, 2009

Frescoed Lift

Frescoed lift, Istituto Pietro Mascagni, LivornoI have to reveal you a secret: I know two Stefanos. Both are my friends and while one has the keys of almost everything, the other has already shown us the “Istituto Pietro Mascagni”, where we are going back now.Staircase, Istituto Pietro Mascagni, LivornoIn the first visit at the academy I missed the frescoed door of the lift and the simple geometrical poetry of the main staircase.Court, Istituto Pietro Mascagni, LivornoThe sun was scorching in the beautiful court and the “score and baton” fountain was still dry, but we can see it a little better in these images.Fountain, Istituto Pietro Mascagni, LivornoWe are not finished yet with this building, part of the “Gherardesca” compound: we have still to see two very different and peculiar rooms.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Parking Big Boats

Benetti's Sunday yacht, LivornoThe 58 meter “Sunday” superyacht, just out of the dry dock, maneuvering back to be moored inside the “Porto Mediceo”.Benetti's Amnesia yacht, LivornoTroubles with an anchor for the 60 meter “Amnesia”, mooring after some trials at sea.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Green Gas Station

Covered sign of a closed gas station, LivornoNot much environmentalism at work in this vine-covered filling station, by chance green is the color which now hide the brand of the gasoline.Closed gas station, LivornoThe few last gas stations in urban areas are being closed for safety reasons, so this leafy pump is going to disappear soon for good.

To answer some of your questions and comments I have to spend some more words about where this gas station is. This is “Viale Marconi”, a tree lined street where I grew up and where my mom still lives. I passed this station every day going to school, because the three schools involved are just around the pumps. I probably bought my first gas here and became a frequent customer, because the words “fill up” were then unknown to me. The green around the pump was probably a way to keep up with the rest of the street or just to get some shadow. There are many self service pumps not far from here, but I was a bit sorry when I saw that sign covered.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Man & Boat

Patrol boat to Gorgona island, LivornoA boat of the penitentiary police leaving the port for the island prison of Gorgona, recently open to some kind of restricted tourism.Signora del Vento training shipA sailor on board the “Signora del Vento”, a vessel clearly stating that her (unlikely) home port is Rome.Fishing boat, LivornoA fisherman entering the harbour on his small boat after a day of work, sorry that we can't say if he was lucky or not.
We are back in Livorno, ready to get some fresh photos after so much canned goods...

Monday, July 20, 2009


Traffic control cameras, LivornoSurveillance gets ubiquitous an more sophisticated, even if this contraption is used only for traffic control in “Via Magenta”.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Glass Fishes

Glass fishes, TAN village, Livorno“Canned” photos again, this time of a couple of schools of glass fishes, seen last April at the TAN village market.Glass fishes, TAN village, Livorno

Saturday, July 18, 2009

At Work

Men at work, bas-relief, LivornoThis bas-relief, on a building not far from where I live, shows some people working.
From left to right, you see a man boldly destroying something that looks like a work of art and, in the meantime, trying to kill with his pickaxe another man, who is probably trying to steal the ruins. The third man is carrying a beam so awkwardly that hits a fourth man in the head, which, in revenge, is clearly trying to hit him back on the feet with his shovel.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Scali delle Cantine

Scali delle Cantine, LivornoThis is a view from “Piazza della Repubblica” toward the “Scali delle Cantine”, on the right, and the “Fortezza Nuova”, on the left.Old postcard, Scali delle Cantine, LivornoThe postcard dates from the first years of the last century and, as you can see, not much has changed in the buildings.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wood & Iron

Wooden boat, Darsena Nuova, LivornoWooden boats are rare now and often kept in very good condition by their careful and proud owners.Iron boat, Fosso Reale, LivornoSmall iron boat are rarer and enlarging this image you can see that the owner, and probable builder, of this riveted battleship took no chances with lesser materials.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

City Seagulls

Seagull crying on a lamppost, Fosso Reale, LivornoThis seagull is crying from the top of one of the steet lights lining the “Fosso Reale”, not far from “Piazza Cavour”.Seagull on a chimney, LivornoThis other bird is standing on top of a chimney of a seven storey building adjacent to mine, from where he controls everything around, me included.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wind Force

Windmill toy, balcony, LivornoLast week on a balcony in “Via Grande”: it looks like a butterfly of sorts, but it has rotating petals around its “head”.Windmill toys, market, Sant'Antonino Fair, LivornoIn our post Fair Wares about Sant'Antonino Fair, writing of windmill toys, we announced the existence of a “wheeled cow speeding in the breeze”, which is now time to show you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

On a Bollard

Sparrow, bird on a bollard, Porto Mediceo, LivornoStill posting “canned” images of Livorno from Paris: the photo of this lonely bird was taken about a month ago at the Elba pier, inside the “Porto Mediceo”.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Canned Photos

Wooden cats, market, Sant'Antonino Fair, LivornoWe hope you'll forgive us if, for lack of fresh photos, we are posting some archive images. Here is a trio of carved wooden cats from Sant'Antonino Fair of last June.Wooden motorbike, market, Sant'Antonino Fair, LivornoJust talking of wood, another nice piece, probably worth of consideration, is this fine model of a motorbike from the same fair.

See also: Sant'Antonino Fair - Fair Wares