Livorno On a Budget
Although accommodation options are available in Livorno, budget options are limited so the quality is low and the price is high. Mid range accommodation is also disappointing in quality given the high price.
SightsIf you decide to spend some time in Livorno then there are some interesting sights around town. Quattro Mori, which is the Monument of the Four Moors, is one of the most popular monuments in town. Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori was opened in 1994 and has an impressive collection of paintings by Giovanni Fattori. It is located inside Villa Mimbelli. The Old English Cemetary, dating back to 1645, is the oldest foreign Protestant burial ground in Italy. The Funicolare di Montenero is also interesting as it is one of the few cable railways still in service.
NeighborhoodsAlthough most people simply pass through Livorno, there are some interesting places to wander. The Venice Neighborhood, or Quartiere La Venezia in Italian, is fascinating in part because of its similarities to its namesake. There are many canals and its a great place to enjoy a beer outside during the summer months. There are also some great sights around the area. The Dominican Church is at its center and is an impressive sight.
ActivitiesMany people chose to head out of Livorno and travel to the nearby Tuscan sights, but if you want a relaxing stay without going far then you can visit one of the two nearby spas. San Giovanni's Spa looks out on the Gulf of Portoferraio and makes use of the surrounding marshland. Venturina's Spa makes use of the thermal waters that are thought to be quite therapeutic.
Food and DiningThere are a handful of modestly priced restaurants around town. Trattoria Sottomarino is near Piazza della Repubblica and Fortezza Nuova. They offer a variety of fish dishes including the local specialty cacciucoo. This is a type of fish stew that is quite delicious. Alternatively, you could try Cantina Senese. This restaurant is famous for both its cacciucco and riso nero, or black rice. Riso nero is a risotto dish that has been darkened with squid ink. Another local specialty is torte di ceci, which is a savory pie that is made with chickpeas. These are available around the fish market.
TransportationMost people access Livorno by sea. It is also a common stop off for cruise ships in the area as it provides easy access to both Florence and Pisa. There are direct ferry routes to many cities including Barcelona, Bastia, Golfo Aranci, Olbia, Palermo and Porto Vechio. You should book your tickets well in advance though, particularly during the peak summer months when ferries fill up early.
If you arrive by cruise ship and are planning to stay in town, then you can catch a shuttle (bus #1) to the downtown area where you can enjoy shopping and exploring. From the downtown area it's about a ten to twenty minute walk to the train station. It's easy to catch a train to either Pisa or Florence. Do remember that unless you are completely confident of your schedule, you do risk missing your cruise ship's departure. It's also recommended that you visit only Florence or Pisa as a day trip, as trying to combine the two feels very rushed and less enjoyable.