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Gazebo della Terrazza Mascagni, Livorno

Livorno’s seafront architecture

A historical walk among elegant palazzos

Map for 43.551876,10.308011

From the Medici heart of the city to the cliffs of the Romito, the “seafront walk” in Livorno curves along a path rich in naturalistic and architectural beauties.

The 19th century promenade, today Viale Italia, that coasts the sea through fields and rich vegetation, is Livorno’s historical walk between majestic palazzos and bathing establishments that were already known in the XIX century: the Scoglio della Regina (Queen's Cliffs), favoured by the Queen of Etruria, Maria Luisa di Borbone, the Pancaldi (1846) that were given the nickname of “Royal Bathroom" for the wide presence of royalty, especially of the Savoia princes who attended the Academy, and the Acquaviva (1840), a destination for the cultured and elite tourist.

The striking Terrazza Mascagni looks over the sea, an elegant piece of architecture that enjoys a wide view of the sea and the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. Dating back to the 1920s it has recently been restored, together with the entire section that surrounds it, where a bandstand has been rebuilt following the original model. In the same area is the 20th century complex of the D. Cestoni Town Acquarium, exhibition and research centre for Mediterranean marine flora and fauna and today undertaking important restoration and extension works. Opposite the entrance to the Bagni Pancaldi in Piazza Modigliani is Neptune’s Fountain, donated to the Council by Giuseppe Valiperti in 1934 it was recently renovated. Following the coastal path we reach the Church of St. Jacopo in Acquaviva, erected in its current aspect in the second half of the XVIII century on the site of a previous Romanesque parish.

Nearby is the Naval Academy, a training institute for officers of the Italian Naval Military founded in 1881, a symbol of the deep link between Livorno and the sea. Between the two entrances to the Academy the Margherita Barrier rises, created to further widen the town’s boundary walls. Liberty-style villas lead up as far as the Caprilli Hippodrome, a hundred-year-old seat for important summer and winter seasons of horse races, among the most-attended in the world. Further on, towards the Ardenza Mare, the grand-ducal Casini di Ardenza (1844), thirteen little neo-Classic palazzos, bear further witness to the tourist traditions of the city, while, not far away, the pine-wood of the Rotonda di Ardenza hosts, among other things, hundreds of works of art by artists in the ambit of the Rotonda Prize Exhibition, held in the summer months. The walk along the Viale di Antignano reaches the south end of the city, where the village of the same name is home to a castle that has been renovated many times and today is used as a family home.