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Livorno, Italy is one of the largest commercial ports of call along the Mediterranean Sea, a gateway to beautiful Tuscany or any number of Mediterranean cruises. On cruises to Livorno, Italy, be sure to explore La Venezia, a Venetian-style canal district in the historical center of the city dating back to the Medici era.
Tuscany itself is a destination like no other, boasting a seemingly-impossible mix of ancient and new, rolling hillsides and industrial skylines, the juxtaposition of slow living in remote fishing villages with the masterworks of Renaissance art and architecture you’ll find in Florence and Pisa.
Travelers can meander through Livorno for a taste of modern, coastal Tuscany before continuing on to destinations like Pisa, Lucca, Florence, Cinque Terre, and the vast Chianti wine region. On your Tuscany cruise, dock in Livorno and be in Florence in just two hours.
Only a little over an hour from the port of Livorno is Pisa, a highly-visited town known for its Gothic architecture, home to the vibrant University of Pisa, and of course, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which remains famously tilted since construction finished in 1372.
On your Tuscany cruise, you’ll find the city’s reputation precedes it. Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance, home to the largest Franciscan church in the world, the Basilica of Santa Croce, and one of the world’s most culturally, artistically, and intellectually significant cities.
Florence, or Firenze, is a must-see destination for any art or history-lover while on your Tuscany cruise, and thankfully only a few hours away from the port of Livorno. Florence glows from afar with red brick, teeming with cathedrals. You’ll be in good company among paintings and sculptures by da Vinci, Botticelli, Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, and others. Spend full days exploring the Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore or taking in the masterpieces housed at the Uffizi Gallery. Stroll along the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio, stopping into one of the many storefronts for a coffee or much-deserved gelato.
A short train ride from the port of Livorno is Pisa, known worldwide because of a certain leaning tower. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is just one of the four buildings that make up a cathedral complex called Campo dei Miracoli or Piazza dei Miracoli (the “Field of Miracles”), where striped marble overlooks a sprawling green lawn. Though Pisa suffered extensive damage during World War II, restoration efforts preserved many of its incredible sights. Now, Pisa is considered one of Tuscany’s university towns, an intellectual and architectural hub.
It’s no secret Cinque Terre is having a cultural moment—what once were five unnoticed fishing villages are now among Italy’s top sights. Cruises to Livorno, Italy provide easy access to this famous chain of villages. Since cars are banned, Cinque Terre’s curved paths and alleys are best explored on foot. Brightly colored homes, steep terraces overgrown with vineyards and flowers, and plentiful fishing harbors give Cinque Terre a remote, rustic feeling despite its recent boom in tourism.
Northwest of Florence and slightly north of Pisa, you’ll find Lucca, a perfect day-trip fortravelers who love historic piazzas and basilicas. Unlike Florence and other cities in Italy, Lucca preserved the walls protecting its historic city center, maintaining priceless artifacts from the Renaissance era. Walk along and admire the nearly complete footpaths as you plan your next stop to the botanic garden—the Orto Botanico Comunale di Lucca— or stop in one of its hundreds of churches.
The Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore, known as the Duomo, is instantly recognizable, designed unlike any other cathedral in the world. This massive Gothic cathedral was built during the 14th century, and the red-tiled cupola was designed by Brunelleschi himself. The Duomo is described as a must-see by experts and travelers alike, and entrance to the church itself is free for everyone. Purchase a ticket to scale the dome or see the crypt.
Home to the original statue of Michelangelo’s David, it’s no surprise the Accademia is Florence’s most visited museum behind the Uffizi Gallery. Come for the David, stay for the extensive, unsurpassed collections of 15th and 16th century paintings.
The Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge, was the only bridge across the Arno River in Florence until 1218, and saw repeated destruction and damage throughout history. During World War II, it was the only bridge across the Arno that the Germans did not destroy completely. Don’t miss one of the most resilient sights in Florence.
Even after the cruise ship has docked, you can continue your nautical journey in Cinque Terre by taking a boat tour in a small gozzo boat, a traditional wooden boat that can hold up to six passengers. You’ll experience a view of the five fishing villages of colorful Cinque Terre unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Monterosso al Mare is one of the five villages comprising Cinque Terre. Located in the province of La Spezia in Liguria, Monterosso possesses the largest stretch of beach of the five villages. Stop at the beach surrounding the village to eat fresh seafood from the coast. Monterosso is famous for its lemon trees and anchovies, so don’t miss the chance to try the acciughe di Monterosso, or anchovies, of the region.
Between Florence and Siena is a walled village called San Gimignano, known for its system of medieval towers, like Torre Grossa, built in 1310. Originally, the patrician families in San Gimignano built 72 tower houses to symbolize their status and wealth, but only 14 remain intact today. At the summit of these towers, travelers will see an impressive view of the city and Tuscany below.
While on your Tuscany cruise, you won’t be surprised to learn the cornerstones of the region’s cuisine are pasta and pizza, and few places can do that better than Tuscany. In places like Florence, Livorno, and Pisa, you’re still close enough to the coast to experience incredible local seafood and wine from Tuscan vineyards. Coffee, gelato, and rich desserts are hallmarks daily life here, enjoyed for pleasure and ritual, rather than occasional treats.
Address: Piazza di Santa Croce, 12, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Ristorante Finisterrae offers a selection of handmade pasta, fresh salads, wine, and more, conveniently located on Florence’s Santa Croce Square.
Address: Via Giovanni Da Verrazzano, 3/5R 50122 Firenze, Italy
Located near the Piazza di Santa Croce, Casa Toscana’s dishes are steeped in regional tradition. Find the classics you’ve come to expect like lasagna and spaghetti, and know each dish is prepared in the traditional Florentine style.
Address: Via S. Giuseppe, 22R, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Their cuisine contains only fresh, locally-sourced products. While at Baldovino Bistrot, enjoy traditional fish and meat dishes and authentic Neapolitan pizza.
Address: Piazza Arcivescovado, 17, 56125 Pisa PI, Italy
Il Turista keeps it simple, serving traditional pasta and pizza mere steps away from the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Address: Piazza Guglielmo Oberdan, 2/R, 50136 Firenze FI, Italy
Carapina is a famous gelateria in Florence. Find every flavor of gelato—from nutella and pistachio to cioccolato fondente—and refreshing sorbet nestled along a narrow street at Carapina.
Though Livorno may be a popular port city for passing through, its history is fascinating in its own right. During the sixteenth century, the Medici family contributed to the development of the sea post by ordering construction of new bastions and features to fortify the port. Many of these features are still in place today, giving Livorno the a rustic appearance but a modern, industrial spirit.
Each August, Livorno’s La Venezia quarter hosts its annual summer event: the Effetto Venezia, where families gather for music, theater, performances, crafts, and food. Effetto Venezia has showcased the culture of Livorno for over thirty years.
Most of the port area is industrialized, with ferries connecting the mainland to Corsica and Sardinia. The Livorno cruise terminal, called Alto Fondale, is mainly used by ferry passengers, and cruise ships often dock away from the cruise terminal building.
There is free WiFi in the terminal building, and you’ll find WiFi offered at many bars and restaurants. After leaving your ship, you will find shuttle buses and taxis are available to bring you to the Piazza Grande in the city center, and beyond.
To Get to Livorno’s City Center
In Livorno it’s fairly easy to get around on foot or via public transport. But, if you’re looking to visit to surrounding areas, public transport or a taxi are your best bet.
For those going to Pisa, Lucca, Florence, Cinque Terre, Chianti area, Siena or San Gimignano, it’s easy. You can book an organized tour to get you there.
To Get to Florence
There are several options available to get from Livorno to Florence:
Public Transport: There are 1-3 trains per hour from Livorno. Public transportation ranges from €10–€40 per person. While the train may be the cheapest option, you will have to travel from the ship to the Livorno Centrale train station. Take a 10-minute taxi ride to avoid an unwalkable path.
Private car/taxi (transfer only): €40–€170 per person (90 minutes)
and Shore excursion
To Get to Pisa
There are trains every half hour from Livorno to Pisa Centrale station. Once there, you can also take a bus (“Torre”) to get to the Tower of Pisa.
Looking for souvenirs? Livorno has shops of all varieties and price points near Via Grande, which crosses the historical center of town and is accessible via shuttle bus from the port.
Find even more shopping in neighboring Florence or Pisa, where designer leather goods, silk scarves and ties, glass arts, and more gifts are widely available.
Italy’s currency is the Euro, and while credit cards tend to be accepted in most places, carry a little cash to cover a meal, a coffee, or a taxi ride should you need it. Tipping is not required at restaurants in Italy. Instead, there will be a 1-3 euro charge automatically added to your check called a “coperto,” which covers the tablecloth, silverware, and bread. Tipping cab drivers or hotel porters is not typical, but appreciated.