Cisternone

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This quirky building is the very first reason I was interested in going to Livorno. I had been travelling at home around Tuscany by satellite map, looking for some nice place by the sea for a daytrip from Florence. There was Livorno of course, not far from Florence, and I started researching. The town looked nice enough, but it was when I came across this creation that I was hooked. I knew I just had to see it with my own eyes!

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But what could it be? It looks Roman, a bit Pantheon, grand, maybe it’s a theatre?

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The strange half sphere puzzled me. Was it just for decoration or did it have a purpose? Is it some kind of observatory?

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I just couldn’t figure it out. Until I got to translate an Italian text about the building.

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And all my guesses were way off. This huge colonnade, worthy of the grandest opera house or ancient Roman temple, actually marks the entrance to the largest of the water cisterns in Livorno.

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Who would have guessed?

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“Cisternone” means “great cistern” and this is the largest of three covered tanks built to provide Livorno with fresh and clean water from the Leopoldino aqueduct.

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The Cisternone was designed in 1829 and in full function 1842, and placed in what was the outskirts of town. This is what this neoclassical heavyweight looked like in its original rural Jane Austen-like setting.

Have you ever seen anything like it?

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4 comments on “Cisternone

  1. bastuba says:

    So the hemisfere is just a decoration? Has it any symbolic connotation?
    I cannot help thinking of the water fountains placed in small niches in the wall for quenching peoples thirst when passing by.

  2. en som gillar borgar och sånt says:

    Spännande – och makalöst! Det är roligt med dessa tekniska byggnader som kostats på så mycket utseendemässigt.

    (Förresten – har du dokumenterat Stockholms moské? Ferdinand Boberg lär ha utformat originalbyggnaden – en kraftstation – i morisk stil. Han var väl mästare i fina till det!)

    • CS says:

      Ja, kolla gärna länken i kommentaren ovan. Som folk har hittat på!
      Jag har varit i Bobergs moské flera gånger men inte fotat av respekt för det som pågår där. Men utsidan kan man ju dokumentera. Det är verkligen en fin byggnad, som blivit väl omhändertagen tycker jag.

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