On my most recent Oceania Cruise aboard Riviera we opted to stay in Livorno for the day as the one week itinerary was intensive and we did not fancy travelling for hours to see Florence (at least 1.5 hours each way by road).
Livorno is quite a nice city with its canals, churches, and shops – not nearly as crowded as Pisa, Florence, or Venice.
Livorno became the port for Florence at the end of the 16th Century when Pisa, the previous port began to silt up – at this time the city was connected to the River Arno and Florence with the building of the Navicelli Canal to Pisa when the famous Medici family ruled the area.
A walk round Livorno’s Little Venice is well worth while and a visit to the huge outdoor and indoor central market should be on your list as well. Normally open mornings except Sundays. The cruise shuttle buses from the port (around 10 minutes) drop you off in front of the town hall (Piazza Del Minicipio). The link below to Livorno now gives you instructions for this walk and a wealth of other information about shops etc.:
The local tourist office is also in this area as are many good shops – the ladies will particularly like the Via Grande – all these sites are within walking distance of the town hall.
Other Local Sites
Take a bus from Piazza Grande to Montenero and take the 100 year old funicular railway up the hillside to the beautiful Montenero Sanctuary and enjoy the beautiful countryside and view. Or take a bus to Ardenza and Antigano for a pleasant seafront walk.
DIY to Florence
If you intend trying to travel to Florence by train it is not that easy as it entails a change at Pisa and there is normally only an hourly service. Also the Station at Livorno is quite a walk from the town hall. The train journey normally takes around 1.5 hours. So you are probably not going to arrive at Florence until 1100 at the earliest and you would have to leave at 1500 at the very latest. So for both Lucca and Florence you are better trying to share a taxi or take an excursion. Some cruise operators offer just the shuttle to Florence and back.
Lucca & Pisa
Lucca is one of Italy’s prettiest Tuscan towns surrounded by massive 16th century walls and features some of Italy’s finest Medieval and Renaissance Architecture; described as Italy’s best kept secret – it is only 40 minutes by taxi.
Pisa is a small town with a long history and served as a strategic naval base in Roman times. The more important sights in Pisa are Il Campo dei Miracoli (The Field of Miracles) situated on a vast lawn (Piazza Del Duomo) which contains four masterpieces: The Cathedral, the Baptistery, the Campanile (the ‘leaning tower’) and the monumental cemetery. It is only 20 minutes by train or taxi.
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All details quoted are thought to be correct at time of posting but are always subject to confirmation at time of booking
Photo: Canals – Livorno (RG) 152