Some ideas to discover the surroundings of Livorno
Livorno is a very beautiful city full of charm and its province is no exception: between the Etruscan Coast and the islands such as Elba and Capraia there are an infinite number of places to visit and many of the most beautiful beaches of all of Tuscany. In this article, however, I do not want to talk about the islands or the Etruscan Coast but about the immediate vicinity of Livorno which hide some real jewels.
What to see and what to do near Livorno
Castello del Boccale
The Castello del Boccale is located just outside Livorno, south of the Antignano district, along the coastal road to Quercianella. This beautiful manor rises in an enchanting position overlooking the rocks of the so-called “Cala dei Pirati”.
In medieval times, a fortification built by the Republic of Pisa must have been located here, but the first nucleus of the castle was built by the Medici during the sixteenth century. Initially it was a single watchtower but over time the complex was enlarged and modified several times. Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the castle was transformed into a neo-medieval style residence, while in more recent years the Castello del Boccale has been divided into various apartments, which is why the structure is unfortunately not visitable.
Today the castle looks like a solid complex with a rectangular plan surrounded by 3 towers with a circular base. Whether at dusk or dawn, with calm seas or waves crashing on the rocks, the castle is an ideal subject for high-impact photography. The place is truly remarkable, plus there are several stretches of coast in the surrounding area where you can swim so even if you can’t take a tour of the castle, it’s still worth going there.
Continuing south along the Livorno coast, you reach the beautiful cliff of Calafuria and the homonymous nature reserve. It is a place rich in history, with a beautiful sea and lots of nature in which to immerse yourself. Calafuria is a magnificent stretch of coast with the green Livorno hills behind it, covered with dense Mediterranean scrub and crossed by numerous paths that offer delightful views of the sea. On clear days you can admire a vast panorama of the islands and the Tuscan sea.
Historically, here there were stone quarries that were used for the extraction of the local sandstone. Even today there are large traces of this mining activity, also because it was open-cast quarries. In addition to the Roman quarries, traces dating back to the Paleolithic were found in the area, which were subsequently not followed by stable settlements due to the conformation of the territory and the difficult accessibility. The Torre di Calafuria, on the other hand, dates back to the 16th century and was part of a system of watchtowers with a defensive function built by the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
The Calafuria Nature Reserve extends for over 100 hectares from the Calafuria promontory to the inland hills which are uninhabited and covered by dense woods. The vegetation consists of the Mediterranean scrub with aromatic plants and shrubs plus trees such as holm oaks and pines. Among the animal species that live in the area are the blue rock thrush, the reddish swallow, the porcupine, the fox and the wild boar.
In Calafuria there are several places to swim, sunbathe and relax. Sports enthusiasts can try their hand at diving and admire the beauty of the seabed, with rocks covered with corals, and a large number of aquatic species including crustaceans and various fish. If, on the other hand, you want to take care of your tan, I recommend you to reach the Scogli Piatti, one of the favorite places of Livorno for sunbathing. Both the small gulf of Calafuria and the Vaschine located a little further south are perfect for swimming.
Acquedotto di Colognole
Born to supply water to the city of Livorno, the Acquedotto di Colognole (also known as the Lorenese Aqueduct) was built starting in 1793 and went into operation in 1816. Until 1912 it was the main source of water supply for the city. today it uses other sources.
Majestic architectural and engineering work, the Colognole Aqueduct has a route about 18 kilometers long, from the sources of the Morra stream to the city, where water was stored in some large reservoirs such as the monumental Cisternone, which among other things is a beautiful neoclassical style building.
Today part of the aqueduct structures are in a state of neglect and invaded by vegetation, but along its route there are several sections that can be traveled both by bicycle and on foot, ideal for an excursion into nature.