Discover Livorno from a most intriguing perspective by taking a boat ride along the Medici canals. The history and architectural systems of these canals established by the Grand Dukes of Tuscany make them unique among their kind. Intended as a formidable defense in the protection of the growing outpost of Livorno, dubbed “the key of our state,” by the first grand dukes of the Medici family, excavation of the first canals began in 1577 and took 28 years to complete. The characteristic name of the “fossi,” or moats as they have always been called, derives precisely from the fact that they were created as extensive military trenches designed to close off the city and its fortresses.
During the 50 minute tour we will explore the canal networks of the Venezia quarter, with its characteristic 17th century architecture, gliding along the imposing walls of the New and Old Fortresses, which for centuries have stood on their foundations in the depths of the canals. We will navigate along the towering merchant palaces, built by foreign traders who grew rich in Livorno and in turn enriched the coffers and cosmopolitan climate of the “city of the Nations.” A particularly unforgettable part of the trip will take us under the 19th century piazza della Repubblica, which at 242 meters the widest in Europe, up to the shadow of the towering but elegant Mercato delle Vettovaglie, one of the largest covered markets on the continent.
Passing through the Medicean port to the old Harbour, we will find ourselves within sight of the sculpture dedicated to Ferdinando I de’Medici, famous as the monument of the Four Moors, a 16th century celebration of the maritime power of the Granduchy of Tuscany and a iconic symbol of the city of Livorno. Every glimpse of the city suggests grandeur and mystery, every canal-side cellar is a glance back to a world of merchants and smugglers, the amphibious inhabitants of the city who were at home both on land and at sea. Together we will traverse the entire Fosso Reale, a ring of the seawater which for centuries sealed the fortuitous marriage between Granducal Tuscany and the Mediterranean sea.
We strive to offer the best prices for our boat tours and to satisfy your every curiosity and need. Contact us for more information!
The boats have a maximum occupancy of 50 persons. The craft are open-air boats, excepting one which has a cover designed to withstand light rain. If, in the case of bad weather, the boat tour must be postponed, we would be delighted to offer you a guided tour on foot as an alternative.
Special Boat Tours
Length: approximately 1 hour 45 minutes*
*Indicates the length of a standard tour, which can be shortened or lengthened according to your wishes and the type of excursion.
By the sound of the poles which gently break the surface of the Medici waterways, we will accompany you on board an elegant Venetian sandalo boat in the discovery of the Venezia Nuova quarter, also known as Tuscany’s Little Venice. In this enchanting atmosphere we will reveal the history of the this world built by clever merchants, cunning smugglers, and men of the sea, through legends passed down by generations of Livornese. We will glide silently along the bridges and ornamental merchant palaces, concluding our tour at the red walls abutting the imposing Medici Fortress.
Cost: 15 € per person*
Length: 35 minutes
Minimum reservation of 4 people.
The boat has a maximum capacity of 8 people.
Three consecutive tours may be booked so that a total of 24 passengers may enjoy the tour. Excursions are available only in the late afternoon. Please contact us if you have different scheduling needs and for additional information.
*If the boat tour is included in another guided visit the price may be significantly reduced. Contact us for more information.
If you’ve already taken our classic boat tour, or if you’re interested in a particular subject, we also offer boat tours with various specialized themes, including:
The Traditional Maritime Palio
The secrets ofrowing competitionsbetween the various districtsof the city.Storiesof ancientchallenges inrough seasand canals.
Pirates, Corsairs, and Smugglers
The most important tales and figures in the history of Christian piracy in the Mediterranean.
The City of the Nations
The traditions and places linked to the multicultural foreign communities which helped establish the city of Livorno.
And many others…
We also conduct on-board tastings of Tuscan wines and local delicacies. During the warmer months we suggest a floating sunset happy hour.