Livorno – the city
Livorno is on the north Italian coast and the second biggest of the Tuscan cities. Founded in the 11th century to help protect nearby Pisa it has spent the centuries since as a busy trading port.
Today it is the main stop for people visiting by cruise ship and who are then shuttled out to surrounding towns and cities and many people transit straight through the town. But Livorno has some gems itself from the Fortezza Nuova defences to Nuova Venezia with all its canals. For those visiting with children there is also an aquarium and a Mediterranean Natural History Museum.
Livorno – the port
The port itself is less than 10 minutes drive to the main town centre and serviced by numerous shuttle buses from the cruise liners as it’s difficult to walk from the boat. The roads around are very busy and this is definitely a port which is best travelled between with a shuttle bus or taxi.
If you have booked on to one of the cruise excursions these will also be situated next to the shuttle buses and directly next to the cruise liner.
As soon as you step off the boat there are taxi touts trying to sell their services and persuade you that it is too difficult to get the train, it takes two hours to Florence by train (it isn’t, it’s 1 hour 15 mins) and that it is much too difficult to do without them. On our recent trip we were almost swayed by them but the 200 euro price tag for a return trip put us off.
Instead we spent 20 euros for a taxi to the train station and then 43 euros for all of us (as kids don’t pay) for the return train trip to Florence for the day.
Livorno – and beyond
Having once abandoned a car trip to Florence when we were on the outskirts of the city because of the traffic congestion, the train can be a very good alternative for getting in and out much quicker if you are travelling independently.
Pisa is about a 15 minute train trip away and the trains are very regular. If you are travelling independently I would suggest Pisa is a much better bet than Florence simply because it’s closer and easier to get back to Livorno from.
Livorno – our conclusion.
This would have been a lovely city to explore but the lure of Florence was too strong for us and we enjoyed a great day out in the city. However, Florence really does eat up your time and this is one port stop where I would suggest getting an official cruise excursion rather than doing it yourself. Traffic in this part of Italy is really bad, particularly around rush hour (which perfectly coincides with the time most people are trying to get back to their boats!) and having done it I think it’s a location I’d book a tour for in future.
We visited Livorno as part of our P&O cruise to Italy and Croatia.
Have you visited Livorno? Did you explore the city or travel on from the port?