A voyage into the diverse maritime religion of the Livornese people, departing from the church of S. Ferdinando in the New Venice quarter, to the church of the Madonna in the so-called “Avenue of the Nations,” and finishing with the church of San Sebastiano and the Sanctuary of Montenero.
Our route will take us through centuries of Livorno’s popular religious devotion, and taking the the Virgin Mary as our theme we will travel through time between the sacred and the profane. Our journey begins at the church of San Ferdinando, in the distinctive Venezia Nuova quarter, the patron of which being the Madonna del Buon Rimedio, protector of the Trinitarian fathers who for centuries worked to free Christian slaves imprisoned on Turkish galley ships. Their faith has deep roots in this special quarter, so much that the modern oarsmen of the Venezia district, who crew for the annual Maritime Palio races, still invoke her protection.
Meandering across the bridges and canals of the Venice quarter, within a few minutes one reaches the 18th century church of the Madonna, where, graced by the many altars of the various foreign communities which gave Livorno its characteristic cosmopolitan atmosphere, one may also find a 16th century wooden statute of the Madonna del Carmine. It was recovered in 1606 during a daring assault on a Turkish ships by a Tuscan galley of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen.
Built by the Barnabite Fathers, one chapel (a faithful reproduction of the holy house of S. Loreto) houses a curious black Madonna, placed here in gratitude by survivors of the plague of 1630. The mysterious and enigmatic ebony statue, draped in elegant brocade, remains a vital part of present-day worship. By bus we will then visit the sacred hills of Montenero and the famous Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Graces. In this baroque chest of treasures we will admire the 14th century painting of the Madonna with child, known as the Madonna of Montenero, Co-patron Saint of Livorno and Patron of Tuscany. From this hilltop vantage point one may gaze upon the whole city of Livorno laid out below, and contemplate the ceaseless geographic dialogue between land, sea, and sky.
Length: approximately 4 hours* including bus transportation** to Montenero.
Cost: 230 €
We recommend visitng the three churched in the morning and visiting the Sanctuary after lunch. Alternatively, only the three city center churches may be visited for a reduced price of 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.
** The price does not include the price of bus tickets or other methods of transportation.