If you’ve been to Livorno, chances are you were on a Mediterranean cruise bound for Florence. If you saw Livorno at all, it was from the window of a tour bus. Which is a shame, because Livorno is worth your time.
Known as the Etruscan Coast, this part of Tuscany borders the sea. After spending time inland, being on the Mediterranean offers a complete change of scene. The restaurants here serve the best seafood in Tuscany. You can cruise the 17th-century canals from one old fortress to another. And there’s a beautiful water-front promenade with views of the Tuscan archipelago.
Medici architect Bernardo Buonatlenti designed the city in 1567 around a central piazza and encircled it with the Fossio Reale canal.
Several of the Livorno hotels are right on the beach, others are near Livorno’s lively piazzas, shops, and restaurants.
The NH Grand Palazzo is in an elegant 19th-century palace that’s fronted by the gorgeous Terrazza Mascagni promenade. From the roof garden with swimming pool and solarium to the Presidential Suite with Turkish bath, everything here is five-star deluxe. The palace has been exquisitely restored, and the ocean views go on forever. The 123 rooms and suites have minibars, Internet access, flat-screen TVs, and modern, marble bathrooms. There’s a spa, sauna, fitness center, and a dreamy grotto pool in the basement. The restaurant is lovely, and service is professional. This is a beautiful hotel in an unbeatable location.
If you want access to a beach, Hotel Rex is located about four miles south of Livorno in the village of Antignano. There are three restaurants here, most with great views of the sea — the panorama from the terrace is terrific. There are 61 rooms with mini bars, safes, and Internet access. The best have balconies. The beach club has umbrellas, lounge chairs, and a café for snacks.
In the heart of town near Goldoni’s Theater, Al Teatro has eight lovely rooms in a building that dates from the 19th century. Each of the rooms is dedicated to a composer or musician, and decorated with vintage prints and paintings, and period furnishings. The property has won an award from Touring Club. There’s a pretty garden where you can have breakfast or a glass of wine. Service is cordial and helpful. This is one of the most romantic hotels in Livorno.
Overlooking the harbor and the Piazza dei Quattro Mori, Hotel Gran Duca is conveniently located close to all the Livorno attractions. It was renovated recently, and now it’s modern and elegant. The hotel‘s restaurant fronts the piazza and serves fresh seafood. With a fitness center, indoor swimming pool, Turkish bath, and massage room, it’s a good choice for those who want to stay fit. The 63 rooms have mini bars, wireless Internet access and interactive LCD TVs. Some have small terraces facing the harbor.
The contemporary Max Hotel Livorno is the best choice for business travelers. It’s close to the train station and sports complex. The Max Lounge has WiFi Internet access, computers, and printers, and there’s a big-screen plasma TV for sporting events. A fitness center and Turkish bath are available. And there’s a good seafood restaurant. Rooms have mini bars, satellite TV, and modem ports. If you like a stylish, modern hotel, you’ll enjoy Hotel Max.
Housed in an 18th-century villa a few miles from Livorno in Montenero, the Hotel La Vedetta di Montenero has 31 charming rooms with features like tile floors and exposed beams. Byron and Shelley both lived in Montenero for a time. Although the hotel is inland, there are beautiful views of the sea from the upstairs rooms and from the terrace. Other rooms overlook the woods surrounding the hotel. The restaurant is open from May through September.
Find more things to see and do in Livorno here.
1) NH Grand Hotel Palazzo
2) Hotel Rex
3) Al Teatro
4) Hotel Gran Duca
5) Max Hotel Livorno
6) Hotel La Vedetta di Montenero