Knotted to the sea, which is an integral part of its life, Livorno was built on a small fisherman's settlement that belonged to Mastio di Matilde di Canossa, and enlarged on request of the Medici Family in the XVI century, to become one of the most rich naval and commercial ports of the Mediterranean Sea.
Francesco I of the Medici Family, in 1575, committed to the architect Buontalenti the enlargement and the refurbishment of the port area. In 1629 Venetian techniques were used to stretch the city into the sea and a new district called New Venice was built, with a tight series of navigable canals (I Fossi Medicei) which connected the deposits to the houses of the merchants.
In Livorno there are a lot of historic and architectonic styles which are evidence of the different religious faiths that over the centuries, lived together in the city; in addition to the Catholic churches, dedicated mainly to the Mariano cult, there is a presence of different faith communities: Hebrew, Greek, Armenian, Dutch-German and English.
In Via della Madonna it is possible to admire the beautiful Baroque façade of the Chuch of the Armeni. On the same road one of the most old churches of the Old town was built in the XVI century: the Church of Ss.ma Annunziata o dei Greci Uniti, where wonderful wooden icons are preserved.
In Via Verdi, in front of the main entrance of the Old English Cemetery, lies a Neoclassic Anglican Church.
In Piazza Benamozegh the actual Israelite Temple was edified, rebuilt on the ruins of the original Synagogue, completely destroyed during the Second World War.
The Cathedral of Livorno is dedicated to San Francesco. The building started in 1594 and finished in 1606; the year after the bell tower was edified and in the XVIII century further extension works to the transept and the chapels were completed. Seriously damaged during the air raids of the Second World War it was rebuilt in its original model by the architect Pieroni. The façade is simple with a marble porch with Doric lines. On the inside three famous paintings of Jacopo Chimenti, called "l'Empoli" are preserved: San Francesco that receives Baby Christ from the Madonna, the Assumption of the Madonna, the Apotheosis of Santa Giulia and a Christ crowned with spines of the artist Beato Angelico.
Not to miss: the monument of the Four Moors, the Fortress, the Fanale Tower, the Villa Fabbricotti and the Naval Accademy built in 1881.
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