Livorno (tours to Florence or Pisa), Italy cruises
In addition to its own historical delights, Livorno opens the door to an array of bustling cities, sleepy seaside towns, and breathtakingly beautiful Tuscan countryside.
Just a little over an hour from the world-renown Gothic architecture of Pisa, and two hours from the birthplace of the Renaissance in Florence, Livorno holds the key to sampling the best of the Tuscany region.
Livrono, Florence and Pisa port guide.
A treasure of the Italian coast, the city of Livorno, gateway to Florence and Pisa, lies just two miles from the port.
From humble roots in the Roman era, three Centuries of Medicean rule saw the town prosper and transform into one of the most important city ports in the Mediterranean.
Spend your day in Livorno with a stroll through the Venetian-style canal district of La Venezia, a delicious Italian lunch by the water, and an afternoon exploration of the mighty Fortezza Vecchia, a medieval fortress that gazes out across the vast Ligurian Sea. Or you can leave Livorno behind, venturing inland to see the cultural wonders that Tuscany has to offer, with a day trip to either Florence or Pisa.
Here’s our guide on everything you need to know about exploring this unique port city, or the rich offerings of Florence and Pisa.
Top landmarks and sights in Florence and Pisa.
Just a two-hour drive from the port of Livorno lies the Renaissance treasure of Florence. A dream destination for art and architecture lovers, the vibrant, red-bricked, façades of the city’s streets can be seen for miles around, thanks to its numerous towering cathedrals.
The most dazzling sight in Florence is that of the Doumo, otherwise known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Cathedral of Florence. Sitting atop vast walls bathed in decedent green, pink and white marble, the cathedral’s unmistakable dome, designed by architect Filippo Brunelleschi, is a true masterpiece, not to be missed.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb the 463 steps to the top for an unrivaled view of Florence.
A 4-minute walk from the cathedral, you can find the Basilica di San Lorenzo. The mausoleum of the world-renown Medici family, also constructed by Brunelleschi in the 15th century, houses the Laurentian Library, best known for its fanciful staircase designed by Michelangelo.
Other Florence highlights include the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, the Pitti Palace, and the Bargello National Museum.
One hour away from Livorno (by road) lies the birthplace of the iconic astronomer Galileo Galilei. Pisa acted as a hub for Europe’s more prolific architects, sculptors, and painters, whose influence is still felt to this day.
The Torre Pendente, or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, will undoubtedly be a sight you won’t want to miss. Built in 1173 on swampy ground, the tower has stood rather vicariously as a symbol of architectural magnificence ever since.
Part of one of four historical attractions, the tower is accompanied by the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, the Baptistery, and the Campo Santo – also known as the Sacred Field.
The four shining marble wonders that constitute the full cathedral complex are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are among the most picturesque attractions in Pisa.
Other sights include the Giardino Scotto, the Museo di San Matteo, and the Borgo Stretto.
From a slow stroll along the banks of the Arno River, and through the bountiful sights and smells of the Mercato Centrale market, to an afternoon of sampling the seemingly countless works of art and architecture on display, there are plenty of choices when it comes to things to do on your visit to Florence.
Bask in the mastery of priceless works of art at the Uffizi Gallery, featuring the most important collection of Renaissance art in the world, or pay a visit to The Academia Gallery, which houses Michelangelo’s sculpture of David, amongst other works of Florentine masters.
Walk across the Ponte Vecchio or Old Bridge, one of history’s most pivotal sites of resilience, the first bridge in Florence to span the Arno river and the only bridge to survive from the medieval period.
Walk the city walls of Pisa along the Camminamento Delle Mura di Pisa, some of the best-preserved in Europe, and see for yourself the famous leaning tower that shares the city’s name. If you’re looking to venture further afield, take a train ride or a boat trip across the crystal clear waters to Cinque Terre for an authentic taste of rustic Italy set amongst brightly colored terraces and steep, curved streets.
There’s plenty of delicious Mediterranean cuisine on offer in Florence, Pisa and Livorno, with an eclectic mix of modern and traditional dishes. It will come as no surprise that freshly prepared pizza and pasta are amongst some of the most sought-after dishes in the Tuscany region, perfectly paired with vibrant salads and crisp, local wines that captivate the senses. On top of this are several local delicacies that guests and locals adore in equal measure.
Situated on the coast, Livorno’s menus are full of Mediterranean seafood. Try crudites di Mare, a variety of fish and seafood served raw, with the traditional squeeze of lemon. Another popular dish is carruccio, a seafood stew with tomatoes served on delicious garlic toast.
Visitors to Livoro’s restaurants may notice the phrase alla livonese crop up from time to time. This means ‘Livornese style’, a spicy tomato sauce often served with traditional Italian dishes. Try it for a local twist on an old favorite.
For a quick snack while exploring, cenci are available from many shops and vendors around the town: fried ribbons of dough, dusted with fine sugar. For a healthier treat, try castagnaccio: gluten- and sugar-free cake made from olive oil, rosemary, chestnut flour and various combinations of dried fruit.
Perhaps Florence’s most famous dish, bistecca alla Fiorentina, or Florentine steak is a must-try: seasoned with salt and lemon, the T-bone steak is cooked over chestnuts for a unique, smoky flavor. Florentine steak is cooked only one way, so if you don’t want to offend the chef, don’t ask for it to be cooked to your liking!
For a lighter bite on the go, you can purchase lampredotto from many street vendors around the city. This dish has been around since medieval times and consists of tripe boiled in broth and served in a sandwich of freshly baked bread with a choice of sauce. The locals love it or hate it, so you too can weigh in on the debate once you've had a try.
For dessert, Florence’s gelato is known as some of the best Italy has to offer. Pick your firm favorite flavors or try something new. A top gelato tip is to avoid the brightest colors: a dull green pistachio is likely to be much more genuine and full of flavor.
Visitors to Pisa can try a local soup, sullo scio: tagliatelle with flavors of garlic, rosemary, and peeled tomatoes, and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Pici, a thicker, Tuscan spaghetti is also served in many eateries.
If you fancy something sweet, torta con i Bischeri is a local rice-filled tart flavored with lemon, vanilla and nutmeg. Variants may include chocolate, raisins, or maraschino liqueur.
Shopping in Florence, Pisa and Livorno.
Drawing on Italian tradition rich in skilled artists and craftsmanship, there lies a wondrous mix of modern, luxury boutiques, fashion outlets, and gorgeous gift shops in each of these cities. You can find locally-made crafts, workshops, and open-air markets packed with goods to find the perfect souvenir to take home.
Famous for its fashion as well as its art and culture, Italy boasts some of the finest leather goods on offer, which can be found in stores and markets across both Florence and Pisa.
A visit to Ponte Vecchio in Florence wouldn’t be complete without browsing the world-famous jewelry shops and antique stores. In Pisa, stroll along the elegant streets of Corso Italia, Borgo Stretto and Borgo Largo, laden with prestigious brands and open-air markets.
Getting around: Florence, Pisa and Livorno transport.
Florence and Pisa are both accessible by rail, with 1-3 trains departing Livorno Centrale train station to Florence each hour, and the same number every half hour to Pisa. You can also arrange a private taxi or transfer from port to Florence or Pisa.
Local buses and taxis are plentiful and reasonably priced in both Florence and Pisa.
Livorno port facilities.
The port of Livorno is a busy port for both cruises and industrial shipping. Cruise ships often dock at a container terminal a little further away from the port entrance, in which case shuttle buses are provided to transport you to the main terminal building, with local buses and taxis in proximity.
The terminal building itself has free WiFi, as do many of the local bars and restaurants.
Livorno, Florence and Pisa quick tips.
The accepted currency in Italy is the Euro. Many larger establishments, hotels and bars will accept credit or debit cards. However, you may find it helpful to keep some cash on hand to cover smaller purchases or transport costs.
Tipping is not compulsory in Italy. Many restaurants instead will add a $2-$4 charge to your bill, often referred to as a ‘coperto’, to cover the tablecloth, cutlery, and bread.
You aren’t expected to tip taxi drivers, hotel staff, or tour guides, but any tips for exceptional service are always appreciated.
The Tuscany region has a typically Mediterranean climate, with the best times to visit falling between May and September, with temperatures reaching between 63-73°F in late spring and 68-79°F in early autumn.
June to August see vibrant sunflowers sweeping over the countryside and fresh seasonal fruit on offer. Temperatures during the peak of the summer sit at a warm 77-88°F with long days and plenty of sunshine.