Livorno (Florence), Italy

There is a reason why Livorno is the best part of a Western Mediterranean cruise, and it’s not for the ambiance port city itself!  The port of Livorno allows cruisers to discover the treasures of Tuscany…Florence, Pisa, Lucca, and San Gimignano!

Florence, the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany, can be thought of as a living memorial to the Renaissance! The museums, palaces, and churches house some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world! Some of the most important sights include the Duomo (the magnificent cathedral), the Baptistery of St. John, the Uffizi Gallery (one of the most eminent museums in the world), and of course, the Accademia (to see the world’s most famous sculpture, Michelangelo’s David). Tip: Purchase tickets online and in advance for the Accademia or you’re sure to waste valuable time waiting in line.  

Pisa is actually one of the closest cities to the port of Livorno, and its lure needs no further explanation! The Leaning Tower is one of the four buildings that make up the cathedral complex called Campo dei Miracoli or Field of Miracles. If you want to climb to the top of the tower, purchase tickets online and in advance because otherwise, the lines are long. Don’t forget to snap a few of those iconic photographs that people love taking of “holding up the tower”! Tip:  If you just want to take a few pictures, Pisa can be a quick stop on the way to Florence or Lucca.

Located just northwest of Florence lies Lucca, an almost perfectly preserved city of medieval architecture and buildings! The walls surrounding the ancient city date back to the 17th century and are some of the best preserved ramparts in Italy.  In the 1800's, the top of the thick wall was planted with trees and grass, turning it into a huge park and a lovely place to walk, picnic, or ride a bike. There are several places to rent bikes by the gates of the city. Tip: If you’re traveling with children and feel a day in Florence wouldn’t hold their interest, a fun alternative would be to climb to the top of the Leaning Tower and then ride bikes atop the wall at Lucca!

San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a small walled village famous for its medieval architecture. Its 14 surviving medieval towers create a beautiful skyline visible from the surrounding countryside. The tallest tower, Torre Grossa, is 177 feet tall and dates back to 1298. Visitors can climb to the top for panoramic views of San Gimignano and the picturesque countryside. It’s a wonderful place to leisurely stroll about and perhaps enjoy a typical Tuscan meal with a glass of Vernaccia, the locally produced white wine.

Tuscany is a land of magnificent landscapes, rich history and culture, and countless architectural and artistic treasures… all waiting to be discovered on a Mediterranean cruise!