Livorno Fosso Reale

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In Livorno one is always close to water. The port dominates the skyline with its cranes and cruise ships, and gulls sit on every statue’s head. But it’s not all about the sea. The historic centre is  surrounded and criss-crossed by canals. The main canal Fosso Reale is strictly speaking not a canal but a moat that used to enclose the fortified Medicean city. Nowadays it is filled with boats and the quays are used as terraces or fishing sheds or even restaurants.




The city suffered severely during the second world war and was badly damaged by bombs. The old San Benedetto bridge is the only one still intact, all the others were destroyed.
Many of Livorno’s houses are painted in really bright colours. Such a contrast to Florence’s sober yellow plaster, or to Siena’s racy brown bricks!




I will come back to this part of the Fosso Reale since there are interesting buildings on both sides. The Mercato Centrale on the left and the wonderful but sadly ruined Dutch church on the right. More about those later!



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