Monday, June 30, 2014

Prevalida turris

Fanale dei Pisani, lighthouse, port of Livorno
In 1358 Petrarch wrote Itinerarium Syriacum (Syriac Itinerary) as an itinerary to the Holy Land for a friend to keep him company, as Petrarch himself was not willing to make the long sea voyage. He wrote:

«Post hec paucis passuum milibus, portus et ipse manufactus, Pisanum vocant, aderit et fere contiguum Liburnum, ubi prevalida turris est, cuius in vertice pernox flamma navigantibus tuti litoris signum prebet» (After a few miles there is the man-made harbor called Pisan port, close and almost adjoining Livorno, where a very strong tower arise, from whose top every night the flame shows the sailors the safe shore)

He was describing our lighthouse.

See also: The Lighthouse - The Caged Lighthouse - On Top of the Lighthouse - The Fresnel Lens
External links: Petrarch - Lighthouse (Wikipedia)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Nos Aries

Nos Aries offshore support vessel, IMO 9693616, port of Livorno
“Nos Aries” is an offshore support vessel built in 2014 by Yuexin Ship Industry in Guangzhou, China. The boat is a new entry in the fleet of the Neri Group, that won a contract with the European Space Agency and Thales Alenia Space for the recovery of the IXV reentry vehicles.
Nos Aries offshore support vessel, IMO 9693616, port of Livorno
Last Monday, in a practice run, a prototype of the vehicle was recovered off our coast by the “Nos Aries” and we can see it in this grainy photo.
Nos Aries offshore support vessel, IMO 9693616, port of Livorno
The launch of the first real spacecraft is planned for the next November. In mid-summer the “Nos Aries” will cross the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic to reach the Pacific through the Panama Canal.

External links: Neri Group (Official site) - Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle - European Space Agency - Thales Alenia Space (Wikipedia)
- Bringing back our spaceplane (European Space Agency)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Joyful Gospel Ensemble

Joyful Gospel Ensemble, piazza XX Settembre, Livorno
The “Joyful Gospel Ensemble” is an group of Livornese singers which performs gospel and spiritual music. The Ensemble was founded in 2002 and comprises the choir, but also the accompanying musicians and its technicians.
Joyful Gospel Ensemble, piazza XX Settembre, Livorno
They were performing in Piazza XX Settembre, one of the few interesting events of the last Blue Night.

See also: Blue Night 2014
External links: The Joyful Gospel Ensemble (In Italian)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Cage

Scaffolding around the Four Moors, Quattro Mori, Livorno
After that Ferdinando lost his scroll, it was only a question of time before the Four Moors underwent a restoration. For a while the Grand Duke and his captured pirates will share the same cage.

See also: Ferdinando's Scroll - Four Moors
External links: Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany - Order of Saint Stephen (Wikipedia)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, IMO 9477438, port of Livorno
We have already seen the “Queen Elizabeth” arriving at dawn, a few months ago, escorted by a few tugs. Now she is back in port and preparing to leave.
Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, IMO 9477438, port of Livorno
Her sister ship, the “Queen Victoria”, has not yet showed up in Livorno, but we caught her once in Venice.
Queen Elizabeth cruise ship, IMO 9477438, port of Livorno
With a calmer sea the 294-meter cruise ship doesn't need tugboats.

See also: MS Queen Elizabeth - MS Queen Victoria
External links: MS Queen Elizabeth (Wikipedia)
Search labels: cruise ship

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Paratroopers of the Folgore Brigade, Antignano, Livorno
A group of paratroopers of the Folgore Brigade running along the sea front of Antignano.

External links: Folgore Parachute Brigade (Wikipedia)
Search labels: from behind

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blue Night 2014

I have already expressed my opinion about the “Notte Blu” (Blue Night) four years ago and I still stand by my words. The only thing worse is the “Notte Bianca” (White Night), when cohorts of zombies take over the city making us nostalgic about the usual sparse drunkards and disorderly youngsters.
Blue Night 2014, Livorno
Our first stop in this Blue Night was at a very calorie-rich stall in Piazza XX Settembre.
Blue Night 2014, Livorno
The same stall also had on display some incredible slabs of raw licorice.
Blue Night 2014, Livorno
A few steps further, a normal balloon was posing as a hot air balloon of sorts.
Blue Night 2014, Livorno
Not so many customers willing to “Try the speed of the fiber”, but the stand in Piazza Cavour was nice.
Blue Night 2014, Livorno
A strangely multicolor reflection in the waters of the Fosso Reale (Royal Canal).

See also: Blue Night Walk - White Night - Tony's White Night
More Walks

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Good Start?

In his first days as mayor Filippo Nogarin has already startled and sometimes even amused most of us. He immediately renounced his chauffeur-driven official car and turned up at Town Hall behind the wheel of his own white Audi. He still likes to ride his bicycle, but that could be somewhat impractical at times.
Palazzo Comunale, Town Hall, piazza del Municipio, Livorno
After going after the folly of a new hospital, he is also trying to stop a construction project that would result in the “cementification” of a square along the new canal, in the heart of the picturesque Venice quarter. We may even wonder if he could do something about the isthmus of Crocetta...

See also: A New Mayor - Town Hall - The Old Hospital - A New Canal - The Isthmus of Crocetta

Friday, June 20, 2014

Livorno by Boat

Boat tour passing under Piazza della Repubblica, Livorno
The “Fosso Reale” (Royal Canal) passes under Piazza della Repubblica, which is a very wide bridge of sorts.
Boat tour passing under Piazza della Repubblica, Livorno
Here is one of the tour boats entering the dark tunnel.

See also: Piazza della Repubblica - Calm Waters - On the Fosso Reale - Caisson
External links: Livorno by Boat (in Italian)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pilots at Work

Pilots on a pilot boat, port of Livorno
A busy day for the pilots of the port of Livorno: it is late afternoon and three cruise ships are leaving within minutes, with also ferries and cargo ships coming and going.
Ventura cruise ship, IMO 9333175, port of Livorno
Twenty minutes later the 291-meter “Ventura” is already outside the port, but we can still see the pilot.
Riviera cruise ship, IMO 9438078, port of Livorno
The 239-meter “Riviera” is still moored inside the Porto Mediceo, but the pilots are already on board.

External links: MS Ventura - MS Riviera (Wikipedia)
Search labels: cruise ship - pilot

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Martian

Front page, Il manifesto, 10 June 2014, Filippo Nogarin mayor of Livorno
How did my photo of the new mayor end up on the front page of the June 10 “Il manifesto”? I am still trying to ask, but until now I have received no answer. (“Il marziano” is The Martian)

See also: A New Mayor
External links: Il manifesto (Wikipedia) - Front pages (Il manifesto)

Monday, June 16, 2014


Iconostasis, chiesa della Santissima Annunziata, church of the Most Holy Annunciation, via della Madonna, Livorno
The iconostasis of the Santissima Annunziata (Most Holy Annunciation) church in Via della Madonna. This is not an Orthodox place of worship, but a Greek-Catholic church following the Byzantine Rite.

See also: Chiesa della Santissima Annunziata - Annunciation - Innocence and Mansuetude - How Did They Get Up There? - The Original Statues
External links: Iconostasis - Greek Byzantine Catholic Church (Wikipedia)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

More Cats of the Fortress

Cats, Fortezza Nuova, Livorno
Here are a few more feline dwellers of the Fortezza Nuova.
Cats, Fortezza Nuova, Livorno
They now seem to have got used to the presence of humans and dogs.
Cats, Fortezza Nuova, Livorno
The cats are still quite wary of the omnipresent gulls.

See also: The Cats of the Fortress - Fortezza Nuova (2009)
Search labels: cat - Fortezza Nuova

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Azura cruise ship, IMO 9424883, port of Livorno
The 290-meter “Azura” was built in 2009 by Fincantieri at their shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

External links: MS Azura - Fincantieri (Wikipedia)
Search labels: cruise ship

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Old Hospital

Hospital, viale Alfieri, Livorno
The hospital of Livorno was built in the 1930s and the construction of a new one on the hills of Antignano was one of the most controversial projects of the old administration. The choice of the location at the southern end of the city, with only secondary roads and no public transportation, can't be explained.
Hospital, via Gramsci, Livorno
At the same time a lot of money was spent refurbishing the old hospital, which has plenty of open space where to build new, modern structures and is within walking distance for a great part of the Livornesi. The new mayor was a vocal opponent of the unpopular project and is now willing to stop it.

See also: Spedali Riuniti - The Helipad - Bad News - Works of Mercy

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


On the stones of the “Fosso Reale” we can see an elaborate Medici coat of arms dedicated to Ferdinando I, third Grand Duke of Tuscany. The dangling electrical cable is a recent improvement...
Marble Medici coat of arms, Ferdinando, third Grand Duke of Tuscany, Fosso Reale, Livorno
It feels like yesterday when we were celebrating our 1,000th post, and here is our 2,000th one. In more than five years we never missed a day, showing you the good and quite often the bad of our city. Thanks to all of you who keep following us!

External links: Ferdinando I de' Medici (Wikipedia)
See also: Harshad Number

Monday, June 9, 2014

A New Mayor

Filippo Nogarin, piazza Attias, Livorno
Livorno has a new mayor elect: Filippo Nogarin (Five Star Movement), a 44-year-old aerospace engineer, won with 53% the runoff against Marco Ruggeri (Democratic Party).

See also: Five Stars Livorno? - City Council
External links: Five Star Movement - Democratic Party (Wikipedia)
- M5S Takes Livorno (Corriere della Sera)
- Italian birthplace of Communist party falls to Beppe Grillo's M5S (The Guardian)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Horror in Plain View

New annex, Scoglio della Regina, Livorno
The brilliant minds that are shaping the Livorno of the future have built an annex to the historic building of the “Scoglio della Regina” that is the definition itself of “eyesore”, at the cost of seven million euro.
New annex, Scoglio della Regina, Livorno
Not far, just next to the Terrazza Mascagni, we already have an aquarium that looks like a supermax: so the “penitentiary” fad is becoming the norm for our lungomare.

See also: A “Horror” Revisited - Acquario di Livorno - Largo Bellavista - The End of Summer?
External links: Sette milioni per lo scoglio della Regina, รจ il naufragio del bello (Il Tirreno, in Italian)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Fresnel Lens

Fanale dei Pisani, lighthouse, port of Livorno
After the restoration works the lighthouse is at last free of the scaffolding. Here is a detail of the recently repainted top, with the Fresnel lens clearly visible inside the lantern.

See also: The Lighthouse - The Caged Lighthouse - On Top of the Lighthouse
External links: Lighthouse - Fresnel lens (Wikipedia)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tricolor Bicycle

Bicycle, piazza della Vittoria, Livorno
A faded tricolor bicycle in piazza della Vittoria.

Search labels: bicycle art
External links: Bicycle Art

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Five Stars Livorno?

Marco Ruggeri, Partito Democratico, Livorno
Livorno is probably the reddest city in Italy: in fact the “Partito Comunista Italiano” (Italian Communist Party) was founded here in 1921 and, after the Fascist Era and the war, it has ruled the city until now. In 2007 the name was changed to Partito Democratico (Democratic Party), but many older Livornese still call it “il partito” (the party).
Andrea Raspanti, Buongiorno Livorno, Livorno
In last Sunday's European Elections “the party” was boosted by the popularity of its secretary, the current Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, and a very low turnout. PD's national average was around 40%, reaching 52% in Livorno. The same day we also had elections for a new mayor and, until now, the party's candidate had always been elected at the first round.
Filippo Nogarin, Movimento Cinque Stelle, Livorno
Not this time: many disaffected voters snubbed the party lists to vote for a coalition led by a newly formed political group called “Buongiorno Livorno” (Good Morning Livorno). The PD's result fell locally to 40%, with the need of a runoff voting against the Five Star Movement's candidate.

External links: Democratic Party - Five Star Movement (Wikipedia)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Costa neoRiviera

Cruise ship Costa neoRiviera, IMO 9172777, port of Livorno
The 216-meter “Costa neoRiviera” was born in 1999 as “Mistral” at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique, in Saint-Nazaire, France. From 2003 to 2013 she was “Grand Mistral” and took her actual name only last year. She can carry 1600 passengers with a crew of 670.

External links: Costa neoRiviera - Chantiers de l'Atlantique (Wikipedia)
Search labels: cruise ship

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Red, Yellow... and Pink

Cantina and buildings, scali delle Cantine, Livorno
Some colorful buildings on Scali delle Cantine, seen from the Fortezza Nuova. Below, at water level, the “cantina” of the San Marco-Pontino with its photogenic door.

See also: Fortezza Nuova - S.M. Pontino - A Photogenic Door

Monday, June 2, 2014

Three Altars

Church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, piazza della Vittoria, Livorno
The Altare Maggiore (Main Altar) of Santa Maria del Soccorso.
Church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, piazza della Vittoria, Livorno
In the left transept we have the altar of the Santissimo Sacramento (Most Holy Sacrament).
Church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, piazza della Vittoria, Livorno
In the right transept we can see the altar of the Madonna of Montenero, with an ornate tabernacle made by the Livornese cabinet-maker Ferdinando Magagnini.

See also: Santa Maria del Soccorso - A Cross within a Cross - The Nave

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Theme Day: Zest

Grand Soleil GS 40 sail number FRA 35428 inside the port of Livorno
Sailboats usually do not sail into the port, but this Grand Soleil GS 40 is an exception...