Yesterday I arrived just in time to watch the sailboats leaving port for a race. There was a lot of activity even here, far from the racing waters, and I caught the three sailboats of our Navy coming back.
Today was the day of the parade of the foreign Navies present to the 27th TAN.After a short walk along “Via Grande” the delegations arrived in “Piazza del Municipio” (Town Hall Square) for a simple ceremony.The Navy band was playing all along for the joy of the many kids from the local elementary schools.This is an official picture downloaded from the website of the 27th TAN. It was taken inside the “Accademia Navale”, in front of the interred brigantine.
The barquentine “Oloferne” is owned by “La Nave di Carta”, a La Spezia based no-profit organization whose aim is to help young people develop the knowledge, experience, and skills to go at sea.The original boat was built in Messina, Sicily in 1944. After many and different owners, she was donated to the organization few years ago. In 2006 the boat was almost completely rebuilt inside the Navy base of La Spezia by the “maestro d'ascia” (boat builder) Aurelio Martuscelli and a force of volunteers.The “Oloferne” is currently sponsored by the “Biblioteca del Mare” (Library of the Sea), a series of maritime books by the publisher Mursia.
I am not an early riser, so when I arrived at the “Porto Mediceo” the “Trofeo Gaetano D'Alesio”, the first rowing competition of the season, was almost finished. I barely managed to watch the last race, the one with the ten-rower “gozzi”.The boat of the quarter “Venezia” won the chronometer race.The boats of the “rioni” (quarters) “Salviano” and “Fabbricotti”.The boats of “Ovo Sodo” (Hard boiled egg) and “San Jacopo”.The boats of “San Marco - Pontino” and “Borgo Cappuccini”.The four-oars “gozzetta” with the ladies from “Salviano”.
We are still at the “village” of the 27th TAN (Naval Academy Trophy) where, in one of the tents, several model boats of any type are on display. This is the submarine “Platino” (Platinum), built during the last war and almost the only survivor of the class “Acciaio” (Steel).The PT-109 is probably one of the most famous boats in the world: her last commander was the junior Lieutenant John F. Kennedy. Her sinking near the Solomon Islands and Kennedy's following actions to save his crew made him a war hero.The “Anteo” was an old fashioned type of tugboat quite common in Italian ports between the wars.
The 27th TAN (Naval Academy Trophy) has begun last Thursday, yesterday rained all day, so I'm making my first visit there only on Saturday. The school ship “Palinuro” is already there, ready to sail for some day cruises with selected high school students on board.Three jewels of the Italian Navy, minor only in size, are moored nearby: “Orsa Maggiore”, “Corsaro II” and “Stella Polare”.A nice surprise was to meet an old friend of mine on board this boat. This is an old Coast Guard patrol vessel donated to our local “Istituto Nautico”. Refitted and refurbished by the students now it is almost ready to go at sea, a new precious source of training for the school.
On the west side of “Piazza Cavour” the rest of the former “Via degli Spalti” (Embankments Road) is called “Via Indipendenza” (Independence Street) and it was, for a short time, “Via dei Santi Pietro e Paolo” (St. Peter and St. Paul's Street). In the 1830's “Palazzo Uzielli” was built there with its two distinctive and symmetrical belvedere towers. The architect was Riccardo Calocchieri, the same of “Palazzo de Larderel” and “Palazzo Stub”.We have already seen these strange knobs in the post “Snakes”.A detail of the carved wood of the upper part of the front door.
Another Sunday walk, we starts at a railing of the “Fosso Reale”.Down in the canal, the boats are prepared for the good season.A pearl of wisdom: “Voldemort does exist!”, written on a wall.In a shop window, a nice fake flower against a red dress. A “Welcome” sign at the entrance of the “Antonio Benci” school.
In “Piazza Cavour”, opposite the “Palazzo Rosso”, we have the “Palazzo Santoponte”, built in the 1830's by the architect Giovan Battista Picchianti.On the first floor of this building was once active a workshop for the processing of coral, a very important source of wealth for the merchants of Livorno at the time. The coral was manufactured into beads and then sent to London on ships that had exported pepper to Italy.After the early sixteenth century diamonds were the main item in jewellery imports from India, and coral took first place in exports to the east, for a long time being an essential commodity in all trade with India.The western Mediterranean was the only source of red coral, the kind needed for the Indian market, Marseilles, Leghorn, Genoa, and Naples were centres for coral fishing and coral industries… In India it was used for jewellery and in cremation ceremonies, and served also as a symbol of social standing.Leghorn's importance as a centre of the coral trade and industry was described by a Jewish coral merchant from that place named Abraham de Castro: it is common for the coral fisheries to bring from the islands adjacent to Leghorn from six to eight thousand pounds weight of coral each boat… About three hundred of such boats are employed in collecting in each of the coral fishing seasons for the market of Leghorn, besides which great quantities of coral are from time to time imported at Leghorn from France.
“Diamonds and coral” by Gedalia Yogev (Leicester University Press, 1978)
We already saw the “Residenza Astoria”, but this time of the year its flowerbeds are more colorful and interesting.Their prickly pears have plenty of fruits, known as “fichi d'India” or literally Indian figs.Many bees around these flowers, but I didn't catch any.
On the east side of “Piazza Cavour” we find “Via Maggi”, formerly part of a “Via degli Spalti” (Embankments Road) because it ran outside the ancient walls.It has several interesting buildings, some renewed and a few in need of some attention.Just before getting back to “Piazza Cavour” we find “Piazza Giorgio Caproni”, one of the newest squares in town.A scene of “La prima cosa bella”, a movie by Paolo Virzì almost completely located in Livorno, was filmed here last May.
A symbol on a mirror outside a pharmacy in “Via Santa Giulia” and the out of focus reflection of a religious crest on the facade of the “Santa Giulia” church. On the same mirror, focus on the reflection of the church symbol.