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Discover the Quattro Mori

Discover the Quattro Mori

The symbol of Livorno awaits you!

Beyond the Chains: The True Story of the Moors

Right in front of the Darsena Vecchia of the Medici port, in the center of the lively Piazza Micheli, you will find yourself face to face with the monument of the Four Moors: the most iconic symbol of the city of Livorno, erected in 1587 in honor of the victories of Ferdinand I de’ Medici and the Knights of Saint Stephen over the Barbary corsairs.

Although it is clearly a celebratory monument, it is a rare example in which the winner, although placed high up, is actually overshadowed by the majestic suffering of those he defeated. Compared to the statue of Ferdinand, sculpted in Carrara marble by Giovanni Bandini, it is indeed the four Moors in chains, the work of the great sculptor Pietro Tacca, that captures the attention of onlookers. And it is not surprising that the countercurrent soul of the people of Livorno identifies more with the Moors than with the Grand Duke.

Who were these Moors really?

It is said that Tacca, in search of realistic models, ventured into the Prison of the Convicts, a prison once located near the Old Fortress that housed pirates captured in battle. There, in the shadows of the prison, he found inspiration, but only two of them, Morgiano, a young Moorish slave, and Ali, a pirate with an indomitable soul, have been truly identified. Their intensely sculpted expressions still seem to vibrate with tangible emotions today.

Over the years, the monument has undergone various vicissitudes. Considered an insult to humanity by the French, during the Napoleonic occupation it was almost transformed into a Statue of Liberty subjugating the four vices and was also looted of some Barbary bronze ornaments currently exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris. When the turmoil of the Second World War threatened it, the people of Livorno moved it to safe places to protect it from bombings and finally relocated it to its current location.

Discovering hidden details

Ah…as you are enchanted by the details of this majestic work, you may notice someone skulking around you. Don’t be alarmed, it’s just another visitor in search of confirmation of a curious Livorno anecdote: the exact point from which all four Moors’ noses are simultaneously visible. A little game that makes the visit to this monument even more fascinating.

Discover the Quattro Mori

Useful informations

  • Who:

    Alone, Children and families, Groups, In pairs, With friends

  • When:

    Autumn, Spring, Summer, Winter

  • What:
  • Other characteristics

    Free, Outdoors, Reachable by public transport, Without reservation

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