Cisternino

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Let me introduce Cisternino, the younger “sister” of Cisternone. Cisternone is the great water cistern downtown, providing all of Livorno with fresh water. You can see my photos of it here. Now, the Cisternino, which means the small cistern, was built some twenty years later, around 1850, in the outskits of the city, mainly to be a filtering station for the water on its way to Cisternone. However, something didn’t quite work as planned and after just a short period of time it was shut down and used as storage space. As we will see, it also served another and darker purpose during WWII.

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The Cisternino sits in a beautiful rural area a few kilometres northeast of the city. Masquerading as a Roman villa surrounded by huge pine trees, its “garden” is a popular spot for summer picnics.

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The interior offers many similarities with the Cisternone. Designed by the same architect, Pasquale Poccianti, the cathedral-like layout is striking also here, although the Cisternino is exactly half of Cisternone’s size.

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As you can see there is still water on the floor, but very little. When we were let into the building the water was turned on (just for the sound effect), filling the pool from small openings around this half circle which you can see above.

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The Cisternino experience was a very different one though, the interior so much brighter, cleaner, easier to walk around. Quite a long way from the magical but quite intimidating visit to the Cisternone.

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This building was renovated a few years ago, and that might of course add to this relatively clean and bright impression.

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During the renovation a few elements that had been added during the 20th century were removed. For instance a staircase leading down into the tank floor right at this spot. During the second world war the fascists used the Cisternino as headquarters. This period of time is remembered by a floor stone, marking the spot where the staircase landed. Probably somewhere around the middle window reflection, but it didn’t “stick on film”.

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Then we were invited up to the attic. These are the upper sides of the vaults downstairs. My friend is there to show you the scale of these structures.

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And again, as we recognise from the Cistenone, these lovely limestone flowers adorning the top of every vault.

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Big thanks the water company of Livorno, ASA Spa, as well as the Comune for this opportunity to see another hidden gem of the city!

(And this was Teaser No 8)

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4 comments on “Cisternino

  1. imponerad says:

    Synnerligen teatral och fantasieggande byggnad! Att där även ryms vatten gör ju inte saken sämre. Vilken skönhet i alla detaljer.
    Måste kännas som ett privilegium att få komma in i dessa “hemliga” rum.

    (Din kamrat liknar Ingur Ä.)

  2. CL says:

    Det är sannerligen ett privilegium!
    (Ja, och Görel…)

  3. Sarah says:

    Your photos really express the atmosphere of the place. They’re beautiful

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