Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hall of the Five Waters

Another sad comparison about how the building of the “Terme del Corallo” once was and how it is now. The “Sala delle cinque acque” (Hall of the five waters) was used to pour water from five different sources for the patrons of the spa. The names of the sources were: Sovrana, Corallo, Corzia, Preziosa and Vittoria.
Vintage postcard, Hall of the five waters, Terme del Corallo, Livorno
The hall with the five ornate basins in a 1905 postcard

Hall of the five waters, Terme del Corallo, Livorno
The same hall in June 2013

(Postcard digitized from the collection of Antonio Cantelli)
Search labels: spa - postcard
See also: The Waters of Health - The Beauty of Decay - Parco delle Terme - The Waters of Health: Hallway - Spa Terrace

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

Servants of the Powerful

Solo servi del potente non della povera gente by 5074, via Guido Cantini, Livorno
“Solo servi del potente!
non della povera gente!”
(Only servants of the powerful!
not of the poor people!)
A weird poster where cohorts of practically-blinded AK-47-toting militians serve a faceless gangster-like figure, assisted by close air support: Sacha Baron Cohen comes quicker to mind than George Orwell. The inane banality of the couplet below is astonishing ad its rendition in fake-Cyrillic simply appalling.

See also: My Name Is 5074

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cte Attilio Biancotti

Cdr Attilio Biancotti pilot boat, LI10066, port of Livorno
The “Commander Attilio Biancotti” pilot boat coming back to the port. (Photo taken last March)

Search labels: pilot

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Clet Abraham for Sale

Roundabout sign with a running man inside, Clet Abraham, piazza Mazzini, Livorno
If you want to buy a road sign “improved” by Clet Abraham, this may be the right occasion. After removing the modified signs at the time, the municipality of Livorno is now selling them on eBay:
Cartello stradale Rif N.40
Cartello stradale Rif N.43
Cartello stradale Rif N.46
Cartello stradale Rif N.58

Search labels: Clet Abraham
External links: Clet Abraham (Wikipedia, in French) - The language of the street signs by Clet Abraham (Abitare)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Syzygy Moon

Supermoon over Livorno
They call it supermoon, but the technical name is a perigee-syzygy Moon.

External links: Supermoon - Syzygy (Wikipedia)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Centro dei Borghi

Centro dei Borghi, Ipercoop, Navacchio, Cascina, Pisa
Il “Centro dei Borghi”, which can loosely be translated as Center of the Villages, is a shopping center in Navacchio, near Cascina, in the province of Pisa. It is not much more than a gallery of shops around a huge supermarket, but it is nice to go there during the week, when it is not too crowded.
Centro dei Borghi, Ipercoop, Navacchio, Cascina, Pisa
Parking is not a problem and in the area there are many furniture and home furnishings stores.
Centro dei Borghi, Ipercoop, Navacchio, Cascina, Pisa
We have something like this in Livorno, but not nearly as good as this one.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Spa Terrace

Spa terrace, The Waters of Health, Le Acque della Salute, Livorno
The “Acque della Salute” (Waters of Health) were also known as the “Terme del Corallo” (Coral Spa) and another name was “Montecatini al Mare” or Montecatini by the Sea. The obvious meaning was that we had everything they had at the Montecatini spas, plus the sea.
Spa terrace, The Waters of Health, Le Acque della Salute, Livorno
The terrace featured in the old postcard is seen from outside the complex, while the recent photo was taken from the other side, from the recently opened “Parco delle Terme”.

(Postcard digitized from the collection of Antonio Cantelli)
Search labels: spa - postcard
See also: The Waters of Health - The Beauty of Decay - Parco delle Terme - The Waters of Health: Hallway
External links: Montecatini Terme (Wikipedia)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Footbridge with a View

Town Hall footbridge, piazza del Municipio, Livorno
In 1867 our old Town Hall wasn't large enough to house everyone under the same roof, so they had to expand the available space using an adjacent building then and another one a few decades later. One of the point of connections between the different structures is this windowed footbridge.

See also: Town Hall

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Navy Bus

Navy bus, via del Molo Mediceo, Livorno
It was late April, there was the Naval Academy Trophy, and this Navy bus was almost stuck in Via del Molo Mediceo, inside the port. Its back is decorated with a photo of the “Amerigo Vespucci” training ship.

Search labels: TAN - Amerigo Vespucci
See also: Amerigo Vespucci

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Cormorant

Cormorant, Porto Mediceo, Livorno
I do not know much about birds, but it is quite rare to see here something different from gulls and pigeons.
Cormorant, Porto Mediceo, Livorno
I have seen cormorants on the rocks at Antignano, but this is my first one inside the Porto Mediceo.

See also: Miramare

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Clock and the Cruet

Clock, oil and vinegar cruet, via Ricasoli, Livorno
I have seen these objects in a shop window in Via Ricasoli. I am obviously sure about the clock, but can only guess about the other piece: an oil and vinegar cruet?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Target: Leghorn

The pink bomb by Valerio Michelucci and Stefano Pilato, via Sant'Omobono, Livorno
The pink bomb suspended in Via Sant'Omobono is a work of Valerio Michelucci and Stefano Pilato and was placed to remember the 70th anniversary of the first Allied bombing of Livorno on May 28th, 1943. It was the first of a long series of air raids that obliterated the city center, destroyed the port and blew up the refineries, causing hundreds of civilian casualties.
The laconic comment on a bomb tag, saved by a crew member of a B-17, says: “Went to Leghorn, north of Rome, farthest we've gone yet. Blew up oil refinery and docks, light flak and only about five fighters.”

External links: Mission 41: May 28, 1943; Target: Leghorn
See also: Bombs on the Cover - The Bomb
More by Michelucci & Pilato: Cico Cico on the Trees - Here We Are

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Waters of Health: Hallway

Hallway of the Waters of Health, Vestibolo delle Acque della Salute, Livorno
The recent photo and the old one show different views from opposite sides of the hallway, but I think it is still enough to get an idea of how it was then and of its current condition.

(Postcard digitized from the collection of Antonio Cantelli)
Search labels: spa - postcard
See also: The Waters of Health - Theme Day: The Beauty of Decay

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Swedes in Livorno

Detail of the tomb of the Swedish consul Peter Wilhelm Törngren, Old English Cemetery, Livorno
A detail of the tomb of the Swedish consul Peter Wilhelm Törngren (Stockholm, 1733 - Livorno, 1800).

Thanks to the usual courtesy of our friend Matteo Giunti we have been back in the Old English Cemetery: the occasion was the visit of a fellow blogger from Stockholm, Catharina, who has already been in Livorno last April. She publishes Florensics, a blog mostly about Florence, but with some interesting intermissions: Livorno is one of these. Chiara Scura is another blog of her with beautiful images, but the text is in Swedish.

See also: Catharina's Livorno
External links: Florensics - Chiara Scura (in Swedish)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pisan Malady

Leaning parking sign, scali degli Olandesi, Livorno
Our exile is over, but it seems that a Pisan malady of sorts is lingering over Livorno.
Leaning pile of empty paint drums, piazza Attias, Livorno
You may see objects in town that are apparently leaning like the Tower of Pisa.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Number thirteen, via Gamerra, Livorno
We have already seen the sign of Quincaillerie, this is the shop's civic number.

See also: Quincaillerie

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Astice (A5379)

Astice A5379, port of Livorno
The “Astice” (literally: European lobster) was launched in 1957 as a non-magnetic in-shore Minesweeper, which means that her hull is mostly made of wood. She is part of a series of vessels called “classe Aragosta” (Lobster class) whose design is inspired by a similarly edible type of British minesweepers: the Ham class.
Astice A5379, port of Livorno
In the early 2000's the “Astice” underwent a thorough modernization and is now used as a navigational and maneuvering training vessel for the cadets of the Naval Academy.

External links: Astice (Italian Navy)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Pine Tree

Pine tree in a private garden between piazza Attias and piazza della Vittoria, Livorno
The crown of a pine tree growing in a private garden between Piazza Attias and Piazza della Vittoria.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Marco Razzolini, macchina delle noccioline, peanut roasting machine, via Grande, Livorno
Here is Marco Razzolini with his “macchina delle noccioline” (literally peanuts machine). I saw him at an otherwise dull Sunday market in Via Grande and his stall was absolutely eye catching. The contraption behind him is an old but perfectly functional wood-fired peanut roasting machine, mounted on the back of a truck. Marco inherited the device from his grandfather Alfeo, a real pioneer of peanut roasting in Italy.
Marco Razzolini, macchina delle noccioline, peanut roasting machine, via Grande, Livorno
Peanuts were already known here then, but their consumption was marginal and increased greatly only after World War II, with the presence of the Allied troops. In 1951 Alfeo bought the 1200-kg machine from an artisan shop in Padua and carried it around at fairs and festivals for several years. With the advent of more modern machinery the cumbersome device fell gradually in disuse, until his grandson dusted it off from a shed a few years ago, reviving the “Antica Torrefazione della Nocciolina Tostata a Legna” (Wood-fired roasted peanuts Company).

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Horner Medallion

Of the many things that happened here during our Pisan exile, the most important was surely the press conference about a very interesting discovery made in the Old English Cemetery.
Medallion of Francis Horner by Francis Chantrey, Old English Cemetery, Livorno
A lucky afternoon, clearing weeds around the graves, our friends of the Livorno delle Nazioni association found a marble medallion, broken in three pieces, but without any missing part. After some research they found out that the bas-relief was part of the tomb of Francis Horner, who died in Pisa in 1817 of a lung disease, and the author was the renowned sculptor Francis Chantrey. Francis Horner was only 39 when he died, but he was an already well-known Member of Parliament and one of the first politicians of the time to speak out against child labor.
Tomb of Francis Horner, Old English Cemetery, Livorno
The medallion was probably lost during the bombings of the Second World War and now will hopefully find its place in a local museum, with a copy restored to Horner's tomb.
Thanks to Matteo Giunti, Sarah Thompson and Stefano Ceccarini of Livorno delle Nazioni for the data and the photos used in this post.

See also: Old English Cemetery - New English Cemetery
External links: Francis Horner - Francis Chantrey (Wikipedia)
- Italians unveil long-lost tomb medallion of Scottish MP (The Guardian)
- Long-lost plaque commemorating MP found in Livorno's Old English Cemetery (The Telegraph)
- Great Scots’ Italian burial site ‘falling to ruin’ (The Scotsman)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Busy Cat

Red cat, via delle Galere, Livorno
This cat was so busy that he really didn't care about me...

Search labels: cat

Friday, June 7, 2013


Bicycle with plastic tags, via della Rondinella, Livorno
An unknown but gifted hand, with a few tags, transformed this bicycle in a work of art.

Search labels: bicycle art
External links: Bicycle Art

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Einstein on Porta Potties

On the side of this portable toilet we can read a well known quote of Albert Einstein: “Ogni cosa che puoi immaginare, la natura l'ha già creata” (Everything you can imagine, nature has already created).
On a different toilet another alleged quote says: “Quando le api scompariranno, all'uomo resteranno circa quattro anni di vita” (When the bees will disappear, man would only have four years left to live). The great physicist probably never said that, but this strange association of Einstein with portable toilets remains.

External link: Einstein on Bees (Snopes)
See also: Toilet of Pisa - Mona Lisa

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sun of June

Sun in splendour, Sun of May, via Salvini, Livorno
It is still easier to find some sun on a balcony than in our skies...

See also: Sun of May
External links: Sun in splendour - Sun of May (Wikipedia)

Monday, June 3, 2013

First Division

The Big Red A, piazza Attias, Livorno
Yesterday the Livorno football team won 1-0 a decisive Tuscan derby against Empoli, in the second leg of the playoffs for a place in our First Division, the all-desired Serie A. People went crazy as usual, filling our streets with cars and scooters, waving flags with the club's colors. Please forgive my scarce enthusiasm for football (soccer) in general and my even scarcer love for the local team.

See also: The Big Red A
External links: At the stadium - The feast (Photo gallery, Il Tirreno)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Parco delle Terme

Parco delle Terme, via Foscolo, Livorno
The opening ceremony for this nice park will take place this afternoon, but I was able to have a private preview last week, while our blog was still in its Pisan exile.
Parco delle Terme, via Foscolo, Livorno
The “Parco delle Terme” takes its name from the “Terme del Corallo” also known as “Le Acque della Salute” (The Waters of Health), the now derelict thermal baths which were so fashionable in the early 1900's.
Parco delle Terme, via Foscolo, Livorno
I am glad to see that the new playgrounds keep conforming to a more traditional style than the flamboyant one installed a few years ago in Villa Fabbricotti.

See also: The Waters of Health - New Playground - Villa Fabbricotti - Dangerous Playground
Search labels: spa

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Theme Day: The Beauty of Decay

Former thermal baths, Acque della Salute, Waters of Health, Livorno
It would be really hard to find a better local example of beauty of decay than “Le Acque della Salute” (The Waters of Health), the thermal baths that opened in 1904. The once elegant buildings lie now abandoned and only part of their gardens will be soon returned to public use as a park.
Panoramic view of Acque della Salute (Waters of Health) thermal baths in 1912, Livorno
A panoramic view of the complex in 1912.

Search labels: spa - postcard
See also: The Waters of Health