Such is the historic and cultural wealth of the Italian region of Tuscany that seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be found within its territory. It is the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and was called home by many great artists and scientists including Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Galileo. Cruise ships visiting the region dock in the industrial port of Livorno which serves as a gateway for passengers heading for some of Europe’s most popular sights in the cities of Florence and Pisa.
Port of Livorno
Dating back to the 16th century when it was a small fishing harbour, the Port of Livorno is now one of the Mediterranean’s busiest seaports. Being of such commercial importance it certainly doesn’t appear at first glance as an attractive place for cruise ships to arrive yet the city of Livorno itself is home to a surprising number of historic attractions. Most passengers, however, are keen disembark from their ships as quickly as possible so that they can get on their way to visiting the wonders of nearby Pisa and Florence rather than spending a day in port.
It’s difficult to predict exactly where cruise ships will dock in such a busy commercial port, however, most large vessels dock in the port’s container terminal. Passengers heading into Livorno are obliged to take shuttle buses from the ship to Piazza Grande in the city centre. Smaller vessels can usually dock closer to the Alto Fondale Cruise Terminal (Calata Punto Franco) from where it’s only a short walk into the centre of Livorno.
Transport from Pisa Airport to Livorno
Passengers who are beginning or ending their cruise in Livorno will most likely be arriving or departing through Pisa Airport which lies a little over 20km north-east of the port. There are direct ATL buses which run direct from the airport to Livorno. Direct train services from Galileo Galilei Airport (as it is otherwise known) are not available so passengers would need to change at Pisa Centrale Station. A far more convenient option is to pre-book a private transfer from Pisa Airport to the Port of Livorno with Shuttledirect.
Getting Around in Livorno
The Port of Livorno is not a place to hang around. If you’ve booked an official shore excursion with your cruise line there will be buses waiting for you as you disembark. Otherwise you should take a shuttle bus to Piazza Grande in the city centre from where you can begin your day in port.
Staying Local: If you decide to stay in Livorno whilst your ship’s in port you can pick up a city map at the Tourist Information Office (Via Alessandro Pieroni) which lies between Piazza Grande and Piazza del Municipio. The helpful staff can also advise on the highly recommended canal boat tours. There’s no need for transport within the city itself as most attractions are accessible on foot, however, taxis are available from Piazza Grande if you’d like to visit the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montenero or other nearby attractions.
DIY Train Excursions: If you decide to go it alone and travel to Florence or Pisa independently then you should take a taxi or bus number 1 (marked “Stazione”) to Livorno Centrale train station which lies 2.5km east of the Piazza Grande. There are frequent departures to both destinations but you should be aware that Pisa is only a 20 minute journey whilst Florence can take as much as 90 minutes. To avoid confusion be sure to take a direct train to Firenze (Florence) rather than one which requires a change. Tickets are available from machines inside the station and must be validated on the platform before getting on the train.
Official Shore Excursions: Whilst shore excursions provided by cruise lines are undoubtedly a lot more expensive than travelling independently they do allow passengers to make the most of their short time in Tuscany. The most popular organized tour lasts around nine hours and includes visits to both Pisa and Florence. Of course it’s impossible to do justice to these two great cities in such a short time but the official excursions do allow you to make the most of your limited time in port.
Main Tourist Attractions
Livorno: Few first time visitors to Livorno will want to spend their day locally when such world-famous cities lie so close to the port. However, if you’ve been to Florence and Pisa in the past and prefer to hang around locally you won’t be disappointed. Cruise ship passengers can easily walk around the historic city centre (Porto Mediceo) which lies within the confines of the city’s canal system. The main tourist attractions include the Duomo di Livorno Cathedral (Piazza Grande) and the Palazzo Comunale (Piazza del Municipio, 1) together with a number of other attractive squares. Taking a short boat tour of the city’s canals is also recommended. The main pier for departures is next to the Quattro Mori Monument at Piazza del Pamiglione. The main attraction outside the city limits is the sanctuary of Madonna di Montenero which stands on a hill some 10km south of the city and has long been an important destination for pilgrims.
Florence: Recognised as the birthplace of Renaissance art and architecture, the city of Florence is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. Its churches, piazzas and art museums are filled with masterpieces by many great artists but it is Michelangelo whose is best known to visitors. Probably his most recognised work is the marble statue called “David” which stands in the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze. This is Italy’s 2nd most visited art museum after the Uffizi Gallery which is also in Florence and is home to some of the most important artwork of the Renaissance period. Cruise ship passengers who are planning on visiting either of these galleries are strongly advised to purchase ‘skip-the-line’ tickets in advance.
The city’s most recognised sight is El Duomo which is the dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. Visitors who are fit enough can buy entrance tickets from the Museo del Duomo which allows them to climb the 463 steps to the top of the dome from where views across the rooftops of Florence are something to behold. Another popular attraction is the Ponte Vecchio which leads across to the gentrified Oltrarno Quarter which is home to even more cultural attractions. Sadly your limited time in port dictates that you can barely scratch the surface of what Florence has to offer no doubt encouraging you to include Livorno in your plans for future Mediterranean cruises.
Pisa: Whilst a day trip to Florence from Livorno can prove chaotic with the 90km journey and the amount of things you’ll want to see, a visit to Pisa is far more relaxing. The city is only 30km away and whilst there are a number of tourist attractions it is the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa that everyone wants to see. Visitors can walk to the top of the freestanding bell tower but must buy tickets in advance which confirm an entrance time. Just 17km north-east of Pisa is the medieval Tuscan town of Lucca which is well worth a visit provided you’re not rushing off to Florence. Trains from Pisa to Lucca take less than 30 minutes each way.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is the most established and respected airport transfer provider in Europe and northern Africa. Our friendly local drivers will ensure your safe, economical, and convenient passage to and from the cruise terminal, airport, or major train station of your choice with a minimum of fuss. Book your transfer with our easy to use online booking system and leave the rest up to us!