Livorno monuments - Livorno historical buildings - Livorno museums – Livorno Quattro Mori monument - Livorno Old Fortress

Author: Fotoarchivio APT Costa degli Etruschi e Comune di Livorno

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Livorno Monuments, Italy

Francesco I De Medici had Buontalenti design an "ideal city" to give the new port a residential area during the second half of the 16th century. This was the origin of the oldest part of Livorno, a fortified city with a pentagonal shape surrounded by navigable canals, the Fossi Medicei, and cut down the middle by the present day Via Grande. The main sights of Livorno are concentrated inside the Medici part of the city.

  • Quattro Mori is the symbolic monument of Livorno, located in Piazza del Padiglione, in front of the old wharf and Medici port. The monument is composed of a marble statue of Grand Duke Ferdinando II and four bronze statues depicting chained prisoners. The bodies of the four Muslims has a great moving effect which contrasts with the cold and detached appearance of the Grand Duke. The monument celebrates the Order of the Knights of St. Stephen, founded in 1561 by Cosimo I De' Medici to liberate the Mediterranean from the threat of Turkish pirates.
  • Fortezza Vecchia (Old Fortress) is an impressive pentagonal fortress surrounded by moats, built in the 16th century to defend the Medici port. It contains a medieval (11th century) keep and cylindrical tower. The fortress is enclosed by powerful ramparts reinforced in the 19th century to house artillery. The small church of San Francesco (mid-16th century) also merits a visit.
  • San Ferdinando, behind Fortezza Vecchia, is a church worth seeing for its splendid interior decorations, which seem completely unimaginable looking at the unfinished exterior. The interior is a triumph of marble sculpture, all late Baroque works by Giovanni Baratta who sculpted them based on a single design. The environment thus acquired an extraordinary uniformness of forms and styles rarely found in a church.
  • Fortezza Nuova (New Fortress) is an impressive polygon fortress in stone and brick, built at the end of the 16th century. The fortress is completely surrounded by Medici canals and dominates the old working class district of Venezia Nuova . It is a beautiful example of 16th century fortification, its underground passages, large vaulted halls and walkways for the guards can be visited, while inside is a buttressed rampart which now is home to a public park.
  • Cisternone is an impressive Neoclassical building inspired on Roman baths, which was used to purify the water brought to the city from the Colognole aqueduct. The portico with eight Doric columns is surmounted by an impressive niche. The interior is a large decantation cistern divided into naves by pilasters emerged in the water.
  • English Cemetery A very interesting monumental cemetery which contains the tombs of the numerous English community from the 17th to 19th century. The tombs are finely decorated and display poetic inscriptions. During the past century the cemetery was a spot visited by many literati and scholars. The Scottish novelist Tobias Smollet is one of the many famous people buried here.


Photos courtesy of: APT Costa degli Etruschi and Comune di Livorno


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