A journey through the incredible heritage of the fortresses, strongholds, and medieval towers of the city of Livorno, products of the most important military engineers and architects of Italy and which became the inspiration and blueprint for fortifications across Europe.
Over the centuries, intrepid human engineering has produced not only awe-inspiring cathedrals and magnificent private residences but also cunning and creative defensive systems which contributed to development of a millennia-long building of walls, castles, and fortresses, which are often overlooked or undervalued in Italy’s unique historical heritage. Livorno, besides being a city famous for its cosmopolitan, free port climate, was renowned for its imposing fortresses which for centuries were frequented by voyagers from around the world.
Archives across Europe preserve many secret communiqués, penned by spies and other clandestine observers sent from Venice, Paris, and London to report back on the defensive systems of the strategic granducal port. Livorno is one of the few Italian cities which conserves its defenses mostly intact, still circled by seawater moats and canals, medieval fortresses and towers (which date to circa 1000 C.E.), and two renaissance fortresses and 17th-18th century bulwarks, all connected together in the space 700 meters, which, in the time of a walking tour, permits to make an extraordinary journey through the history of the fortifications. Over the centuries some of the most important figures in the history of military architecture have worked here, and, according to the wishes of the Medici family, put into practice the most advanced “modern fortification” practices developed in the 15th century with the advent of gunpowder-based weaponry.
The fortifications were the product of precise geometric calculations, of new and exact scientific methods. We will guide you through the cannonry, the old patrol grounds, service tunnels, gunpowder magazine cellars, and the countermine (anti-mine?) tunnels, explaining how these machines of war functioned and recounting the important events which took place here and historical figures who visited. We will climb the ramparts and the towers which dominate the surrounding area. Ours will be a journey through the secrets of warriors, a world in and of itself, with its own honor code and language: an alternative reality hidden for centuries behind the walls which defended the ideal city of the Medici, mercantile emporium for all the Grand duchy of Tuscany.
Length: approximately 3 hours*
Cost: 120 €
* Indicates the duration of a standard tour, which can be shortened or lengthened according to your wishes and compatibility with the type of excursion.