The Port of Livorno lies on the shores of the Ligurian Sea in north central Italy’s Tuscany region. The third biggest western port in Italy, the Port of Livorno offers both cargo-handling and passenger services. In addition to the port, the city is home to a significant petrochemical industry and the makers of Tuaca liqueur. The capital of Livorno Province, about 170 thousand people lived there in 2007.
The Port of Livorno contains many canals that link the sea with the Arno River. It is connected to inland Italy’s road, rail, and air networks. It is an importer of crude mineral oils, cereals, coal, phosphates, fertilizers, metal minerals, and silica sand. The Port of Livorno exports mineral and derived oils, plate glass, marble, tomato preserves, wine, olive oil, sodium hydrate and carbonate, and copper and its alloys. In addition, the city is home to a big ship-building yard and smaller ship repair yards as well as metallurgical plants, steelworks, a petroleum refinery, and chemical manufacturers.
The Port of Livorno was a small fishing village in 1103 when countess Matilda of Tuscany gave it to the Pisan church. The Pisans fortified the village in the 14th Century and sold it to the Visconti family in 1399. It was then sold to the Genoese in 1407 and to the Florentines in 1421.
The Port of Livorno’s ascendency came under the rule of the Florentine Medici family during the 15th Century. Cosimo I started construction of the Medici Harbor in 1571. People of the Italian Renaissance thought the Port of Livorno was an ideal town with its canals, fortified walls, and a Medici Port protected by towers and fortresses. In the late 16th and 17th Centuries, the Port of Livorno underwent town planning unusual in that age.
Ferdinando I de Medici made the Port of Livorno a duty-free port in the late 1580s, and the local laws supported trade. The laws made Livorno a cosmopolitan center and one of the most important ports on the Mediterranean, and many foreigners were attracted to the city.
People moved there from Armenia, England, the Netherlands, Greece. Jews also moved into the Port of Livorno. A number of Muslim Spaniards also came to the city and were forced to convert to Catholicism. In 1606, Medici granted the Port of Livorno the status of a city. When trade with England was stopped during the Napoleonic Wars, the city’s economy went into decline.
The Medicis were succeeded by the Habsburg-Lorraine princes. Leopold II expanded the city and granted special privileges to foreign merchants. He built the curved breakwater to protect the port, and the Port of Livorno flourished from 1675 until it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
In 1868, the Port of Livorno joined the Kingdom of Italy and lost her city status, further deteriorating the city’s political and economic importance.
During World War II, the Port of Livorno suffered great damage from bombing; however, most of the city has since been rebuilt in conformance with the original city plan.