Heading up “Monte Nero” (black mount) the air starts to get cooler and fresher and for this reason the now “mature” Carlo Goldoni wanted to set his trilogy “Smania per la villeggiatura”. (“The Craving for the Holiday”).
Perhaps because one can see the island of Gorgona, the city of Livorno at the “foot of the mountain” and, if one is really lucky, the plain as far as La Spezia and beyond and even the Monti del Serra “per che i pisan veder Lucca non ponno*” (“the mount which hinders Pisans from beholding Lucca” ). Or perhaps because of the story of the crippled shepherd boy, who found an image of the Virgin Mary around the Rio Ardenza area (Ardenza stream area), during the Pentecost festivities in the middle of the XIV century and decided to show his thanks by carrying it up to the top of Montenero, which at that time was rife in a thick dark vegetation that made the Mountain seem black.
Or perhaps because of this portrait and for a whole series of miraculous events attributed to this, that the city was saved from plagues, earthquakes, tsunamis and other deadly dangers that, starting from 1455, gave way to the Jesuit Fathers’ decision to found the famous Sanctuary. Perhaps because it was the people of Livorno, a priest-eating people, that elected the Madonna of Montenero as patron of the city and of Tuscany and perhaps because the more illustrious people of Livorno wanted to find eternal peace there. And perhaps being right there, at the top of that hill, they are protecting, together with the Virgin Mary obviously, the entire population of Livorno.
*Dante Alighieri – Inferno, Canto XXXII