Livorno Italy - A Gateway to Florence, Pisa and Tuscany

Livorno Italy is a cruise port and the starting point for exploring Florence, Pisa, Lucca, and other attractive destinations in Tuscany. In this article, you will find out about its history, distance to Florence, the location of the cruise port and whether you could walk from the cruise dock to Livorno town

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Is Livorno Italy the same as Florence?

Livorno Italy

Although it shows up on your cruise ship's itinerary list as 'Livorno/Florence', those two things are not the same.

Livorno is a maritime port, one of the biggest ones in the Mediterranean.

It is the closest point your cruise ship can reach to get you to Florence, Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano, Lucca, and other Renaissance attractions.

As you’re taking a peek through your stateroom’s porthole, or standing on the open deck of your cruise ship as it slowly glides closer to its berth, you might be a bit disappointed… no sunflower fields or medieval hilltop towns of Tuscany anywhere in sight!

No wonder, the port of Livorno in Italy is a multipurpose port in which all kinds of cargo are handled, from cars and forestry products to cruise ship passengers! Over 3 million of them each year.

As your ship finally docks right smack in between all those containers you might feel you are in the middle of nowhere. And you kind of are… that’s why it is so important to plan your transportation to Florence Italy well ahead, preferably way before even setting foot on your ship.  

Where is a cruise port located in Livorno?

The cruise ship port of Livorno in Italy is about 2 miles away from the center of Livorno town. But that's just from the port exit to the center.

Depending where your ship actually docks within it, you can easily add a few more kilometers.

Is it possible to walk from the cruise port to Livorno center?

livorno port imageContainers in the port of Livorno

If you’re asking yourself, “Is it possible to walk from the cruise ship dock to the center of Livorno or to the train station?”, the answer is- 'no'!  

And that’s if your ship docks at the new industrial wharfs. And it’s a 99,9% probability it will.

That’s for two reasons:

  • 1st - walking around the cargo port of Livorno, where you will be docked, is strictly forbidden due to the dangers of the port traffic (trucks, forklifts etc.)
  • 2nd - even if you were allowed to walk, it would take you about an hour and a half just to get to the train station. On this super-short day, you don’t have the time.

Only some very, very small ships (read: yachts) may be able to dock at the old Medici port of Livorno (Porto Mediceo), which is within easy walking distance from the centre of Livorno.

Position: NW part of Tuscany, on the shores of the Tyrhennian sea
Residents: 160,000
Distance from the city center: 2 miles (3.2 km)
Closest airport: Galileo Galilei, International airport of Pisa, 8 miles (13 km)
Distance to Florence: 64 miles (104 km)
Railway station (Livorno Centrale): 15 mins. in a taxi

How to get to Livorno Italy town from the cruise dock?

As you walk off the ship's gangway, you will be in the middle of an industrial port, very far from the cruise port's exit.

All you will most likely see are a few tables set up by car rental companies and private tour vans that take you to your private 

There will also be:

  • Ship-organized shore excursion buses (this is a last-minute option for those who don't make an effort to book more affordable Livorno to Florence daytrips online)
  • and possibly a few local taxis looking to take you for all-day private tours (with a driver, not a professional tour guide)

As I already mentioned above, walking to the town of Livorno is not an option and that is why the only option of getting from your cruise dock to Livorno is by taking one of the...

  • Ship-organized bus shuttle to Piazza Grande, the main square of Livorno

I have described the full procedure of getting on one of those in my article on Getting to Florence. You will definitely have to use this shuttle service if you are taking a train to Florece or one of the privately booked On Your Own tours that depart from Piazza Grande.

How far is Livorno Italy port from Florence?

Livorno day is certainly not the day when you should leave planning your travel to Florence for the last moment - when you get off the gangway - it is about 104km (64.6 miles) away from Florence. 

It takes about an hour and a half to get from Livorno to Florence by 'on your own' bus transfer, taxi, or a shore excursion (depending on traffic).

There are a few different options when it comes to transport and getting from Livorno cruise port to Florence, Pisa, Lucca, and other super-attractive destinations in Tuscany and I wrote about them in separate articles:

If you are venturing to Livorno town on your own, or looking to find your way to the train station on your own, keep reading.

For the pros and cons of each one of those ways of getting to Florence, read more in our article on Getting to Florence. Or see direct links to the best options below:

What are Livorno attractions?

Venezia Nuova neigborhood in LivornoVenezia Nuova is a nice area for a stroll, having a drink or dinner at night

The most picturesque part of Livorno is Venezia Nuova, a network of canals built by Venetian craftsmen and used by merchants as a connection between the port and the town. Buildings have typical facades in Tuscan colors and in the canals, you get to see many private pleasure boats. It's an area where you will find bars and restaurants, too.

The Fortezza Vecchia has a prominent position by the port. It was built in the Meddici era on the spot of the old Roman fortification. Once it served as a military base. Today, there is a public garden inside. 

Mercato Delle Vettovaglie is a busy local market, located in a beautiful 19th century building. It is actually the second biggest commercial building in Europe, inspired by the Parisian Les Halles. Here you will see locals selling fish, handmade pasta, fresh fruits and veggies, cured meats, and olive oils. 

If you decide to stay in Livorno for the day and want to make the most of it, I suggest taking one of the tours:

Mercato Vettovaglie in LivornoThe Mercato is a must-see if you are spending your day in Livorno

Is Livorno Italy worth visiting?

"The city market was a great experience, we would not have found Livorno's hidden secrets without Lila's help. This city has so much to offer also recommend the Renaiisance festival. We had a great time touring this city."

Todd_S, May 2024, Viator

Read more about Livorno Food and Market Tour...

People have very different experiences of Livorno: from those who call it charmless (it was heavily bombed in WWII) to those delighted with its history, authenticity, and an opportunity to experience an Italian town away from touristy crowds.

Those who are delighted with Livorno are the ones who took an effort to book a tour guided by one of the knowledgeable locals: often it is gastro-tours that delight people most, like the one below:

Short history of Livorno Italy – The port of Florence

During Roman times, there was a small port here, called Liburna.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the place was under the domination of Pisa.

In 1421, under the reign of Genoa, the port was sold to Florence. From this time, it was ruled by the Medici family who worked on expanding Florence and also needed a port to support it.

Livorno views from a bridge in Venezia NuovaCharming Venezia Nuova in Livorno

From then on, during more than 3 Centuries of Medicean rule, they turned this little port into one of the most important ports of the Mediterranean.

In the 16th Ct. the town was given the title of city and was big enough to house 20,000 people inside its walls, and had docks for up to 300 ships in port.

But that was just the beginning… in the 16th Ct, the city was presented with the “Constituzione Livornina”, a legal document which encouraged merchants from everywhere to settle here.

Thanks to the new laws, the port was now duty free, there was freedom of religion and amnesty for some penance. Armenians, Dutch, English, Greeks and Jews moved to Livorno to live and trade here and the city quickly became a real little cosmopolitan center.

In the 17th Ct a new quarter was built in Livorno, called Venezia Nuova and it was comprised of 23 islands, interlaced with canals and connected with bridges. The area was built to house the mercantile class and store goods. Namely, the canals made it easy to connect the port with the store houses. Although damaged in WW II, this part of town is one of the rare authentic areas.

In the 18th Ct, with the end of the Medici family, Livorno was under the rule of the House of the Habsburgs.

In the 19th Ct, the city of Livorno in Italy witnessed its second golden age. Everything was flourishing… economy, literature, arts, architecture and publishing. It even became one of the local vacation centres, although it looks nothing like a resort town today!

Livorno became part of what we call Italy today in 1860 (Italy as such didn’t exist before that year).

At the beginning of the 20 Ct. the port of Livorno began its decline and as mentioned above, suffered great damages in WW II.

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