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The Medici Port

The Medici Port

The ancient maritime heart of Livorno

A bustling and cosmopolitan city

Imagine for a moment being transported to Livorno at the end of the 16th century. Initially located on the outskirts of Porto Pisano, with the slow decline of the Maritime Republic, the Livorno port has grown and the small bay has become a real port.

In addition to the Fanale and the first Pisan fortifications, the Genoese have equipped the Castle of Livorno with a dock, the Porticciolo dei Genovesi, and a navigable channel that connects it to the settlement. The Grand Dukes of Florence, who became masters of Livorno in 1421, erected an impressive signaling tower, the Torre del Marzocco, on the edge of the port, and gave new impetus to trade.

By 1534, the construction of the Fortezza Vecchia had already been completed, and by 1587, Francesco I de ‘Medici had already finished and enhanced the city’s defensive walls, but the old dock was still inadequate.

The birth of the new Medici dock

Imagine, therefore, the frenzy of merchant traffic in which you would be immersed in Livorno at the end of the 16th century: ships and vessels coming from every corner of the world, people and languages merging, food, fabrics, spices, and goods changing hands. This is how the ancient port would have appeared to you, a frenetic organism, constantly evolving and growing, disorderly and chaotic but also extremely vital.

It was probably how Grand Duke Ferdinando I de ‘Medici saw it when he decided to further enhance and expand it. On February 9, 1591, he started the works personally and imposed rhythms that can only be described as tight. More than 5,000 men employed day and night, state-of-the-art hydraulic and construction techniques, strict discipline akin to “forced labor,” and unlimited financial resources allowed the completion of the project in just five days, providing Livorno with a new dock suitable for the times.

The Medici Port
Panoramica Porto Mediceo
The Medici Port
The Medici Port
Faro di Livorno
The Medici Port
Faro di Livorno

Useful informations

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    Autumn, Spring, Summer, Winter

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  • Other characteristics

    Free, Outdoors, Reachable by public transport, Without reservation

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