Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Not So Clean...

Trash around dumpsters, LivornoLivorno is not a clean city: people may have spotless houses but are quite capable to throw stuff just outside their front doors.Trash around dumpsters, LivornoThese three pictures were taken within few days in streets no more than few meters away from “Via Grande”. No garbage collectors on strike, just some quite ordinary dumpster overflows...Trash in the harbor, LivornoThe last photo was taken from the “Ponte dei sospiri” (Bridge of Sighs), the main access to the city center from the “Porto Mediceo”. Cruise passengers, crossing the bridge, may have a good look at this: perhaps they find it somewhat picturesque...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In Love

Something unique began here, Livorno
“Something unique began here”

The beginning of a fairy tale that will never end, Livorno
“The beginning of a fairy tale that will never end”

(We) are you and me, (we) are the two of us, Livorno
“(We) are you and me, (we) are the two of us”

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Last Navicello

Cargo port, LivornoA view from the top of the “Mastio di Matilde” of the “Fortezza Vecchia”. We usually don't see this part of the port because this is where cargo vessels load and unload, and access is restricted. Just in front of the passenger terminal of the Moby Lines you can see a bulky black thing on a pedestal: it is a “navicello”.navicellonavicelloThe barge was salvaged few years ago in a canal of the “Venezia” quarter, restored and transformed in a monument dedicated to everyone involved in the construction of the “navicelli”, a thriving trade in Livorno at the time.

See also: Canale dei Navicelli - Dogana d'acqua

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gino's Museum

[Photos by GiamBi]
We have already met the “cantina”, usually a former storeroom or workshop right on the canals where, in other times, crafstmen of any trade worked on boats of any type. Most of these premises, now owned by the government, are given in concession to groups or clubs, usually with some kind of nautical purpose.One of the most interesting “cantine” in town was visited by my friend Giampaolo, who took these pictures for us.This “cantina” is a museum of sorts created and kept by a “signor Gino” who, along the years, collected and salvaged any kind of objects related to the “Palio”, the sea and Livorno.The objects are artfully arranged in ordered displays around a long table where social dinner are held.We can see old carpenter tools, posters, nautical chests, oars, buoys and, if you look carefully, few racks of vintage “fiaschi”, our typical wine bottles covered with straw.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Combat Ape

Combat Ape, Paggio Ape, LivornoI am not yet sure if it is a good idea to post this. Here is the still unmarked trial version of the combat-Ape, practically a self-propelled, three-wheeled, low cost missile launcher.Combat Ape, Paggio Ape, LivornoIt is cunningly disguised as a leisure vehicle for fishermen, but the aggressive silhouette and the military green livery, clearly tell another story.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bye Bye Vespucci

Amerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoThe “Amerigo Vespucci” left Livorno yesterday afternoon, we'll see her again next year for another summer training cruise.Amerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoI took these photos from the entrance of the port, with the ship actually moving, escorted by two tugs and by the pilot boat.Amerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoOur autumn looks like an extended summer, another dismissal of the superstition that the “Vespucci” brings bad weather.Amerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoI'll post few more images of our visit on board later next week, I shot so many photos that it's hard to make a choice.

Search labels: Amerigo Vespucci - tug
External links: Amerigo Vespucci (Wikipedia)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dogana d'acqua

Dogana d'acqua, Water Customs, LivornoAround 1830 the new Leopoldine Walls surrounded Livorno and a gate on the water was built where the “Canale dei Navicelli” reached the perimeter. It was a building called “Dogana d'acqua” (Water Customs) and, even heavily damaged during the last war, it still stands. The main purpose of these walls and gates was not defense, but to collect a tax called “dazio” (octroi) on the merchandise brought in town.Dogana d'acqua, Water Customs, Livorno
Inside the ruins of the “Dogana d'acqua”

Old print, Dogana d'acqua, Water Customs, Livorno
The interior of the “Dogana d'acqua” in an old print

Dogana d'acqua, Water Customs, Livorno
The “Dogana d'acqua” seen from inside the walls

Old print, Dogana d'acqua, Water Customs, Livorno
The building of the “Dogana d'acqua” in an old print

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Canale dei Navicelli

Canale dei Navicelli, LivornoIn the second half of the 16th Century Cosimo I de' Medici ordered the construction of an inland canal linking Pisa to the port of Livorno. This was called “Canale dei Navicelli” and still exists. The “navicelli” were typical sail boats used on inland waterways in Tuscany, which then became barges pulled by draft animals walking along the bank of the canal.Canale dei Navicelli, LivornoThe “canale” enter the port of Livorno and a further branch reaches straight inside the Venice quarter, through the bridge called “Pontino”. Beyond the bridge we can see the bulk and the trees of the “Fortezza Nuova”. For a view from the other side check the post “From the Fortress”.Canale dei Navicelli, LivornoThe final tract of the canal, interred in the first years of the last century, is now in the process of being re-excavated as narrated in the post “An Useless Dig”. Several shipyards are located along the out of town part of the canal. The U.S. Army base of Camp Darby has a direct access to the port of Livorno through the “Canale dei Navicelli”.

Search labels: new canal
See also: An Useless Dig - Viale Caprera - Micropoles - New Venice - A New Canal - Crash - The Dig - Building the Canal - Venice's Canal - The Old “Cantina” - Along the New Canal - Under Construction - The Bomb - The Buried Bomb - The Wall - Modulblock

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Plaque, fancy civic numbers, LivornoThe “Residenza Astoria” is a quite new condominium built off “Via Ricasoli” in the center of Livorno. I really don't remember why the name, the place has always been called this way.Plaque, Astoria Residence, LivornoNothing peculiar about the building except for the location: it was built in a large space inside a city block, with only a private street leading to it.Building of the Astoria Residence, LivornoIt faces the tiny “Parco Centro Città”, featured in an old post. A friend of ours will be happy to see that this place has a palm tree just in front (and many more in the adjoining park).Prickly pears and agaves, Astoria Residence, LivornoPrickly pears and agaves complete the Mediterranean setting of this sunny building. This once was a “Hotel Astoria”, built in the 50's and definitely closed in the early 80's. It was transformed into an apartment building a few years ago.

See also: Parco Centro Città

Monday, September 21, 2009

Going Aloft

Amerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoAgain on the “Amerigo Vespucci”, where some of the crew are joyfully climbing the ratlines to reach the top, then climbing down after a while. The sky was blue, the weather warm.Amerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoAmerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoAmerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoThe exercise was repeated for the three masts, maybe only an occasion to snap some photos of each other...

Search labels: Amerigo Vespucci
External links: Amerigo Vespucci (Wikipedia)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Elbow Grease

Amerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoThe “Amerigo Vespucci” is back to Livorno after her summer training cruise, begun last July. On the same pier another school ship, the amphibious transport dock “San Giusto”.Amerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoAmerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoAmerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoAmerigo Vespucci training ship, LivornoEvery sailor on board is fixing, brushing or painting something...

Search labels: Amerigo Vespucci
External links: Amerigo Vespucci (Wikipedia)

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Bollard, fishing boat, LivornoAfter a verbose post about my past mistakes, it's time of shorter descriptions: here are a couple of photos taken in the Old Harbor.Bollard, fishing boat, LivornoFishing boats tend to have colorful decks and it's quite easy to single out an eye catching detail.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Ferdinando I de' Medici, LivornoLast week, in a comment, Julie of Sidney Eye asked me why there aren't preminent female figures in the statues and monuments of Livorno. I checked on books and lists and found a lonely statue inside our Library in “Villa Fabbricotti”, but something else I read made me blush.
In a post titled Four Musketeers I peddled my wishful thinking about four busts in the same park, which I wrongly identified as the Dumas characters.
Poring over the list of the statuary inside the park I found four entries of heads of Grand Dukes, salvaged from a “palazzo” in “via Grande” destroyed in the last war.
The Grand Dukes are: “Ferdinando I”, “Cosimo I”, “Cosimo II” and “Gian Gastone”, listed as marble busts by a Fancelli from Siena. I have matched a known portrait with the relative statue.
Ferdinando I de' Medici” (Porthos)
Cosimo II de' Medici” (Aramis)
Cosimo III de' Medici” (Athos)
Gian Gastone de' Medici” (d'Artagnan)

The supposed Musketeer's cross was simply the coat of arms of the Order of Saint Stephen, founded by “Cosimo I”, and clearly visible in the first image, the famous statue of “Ferdinando I” part of the “Four Moors” monument.
Please forgive my ignorance and have some fun at me, but I am very sad to have lost forever my unique and beloved Musketeers statues for some common heads of Florentine Grand Dukes.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Low and Dark

Via delle Travi, Wood Beams Street, plaque, LivornoI have already posted about street names, but “Via delle Travi” (Wood Beams Street) is more interesting about the mint new marble plaque perfectly framed in the restored building.Via Bassa, Low Street, plaque, LivornoNobody has restored anything in “Via Bassa” (Low Street) and the vintage plaque is framed only by wires and cables.Via Buia, Dark Street, plaque, Livorno“Via Buia” (Dark Street) is a favorite of mine because it is not dark at all and the old plaque does contrast nicely with the new paint of the building.

See also: Anchovies Street - Narrow Streets, Long Names