THE HISTORY OF LIVORNO
By wikipedia


leghornLivorno was defined as an "ideal town" during the Italian Renaissance. Today, it reveals its history through the structure of its neighbourhoods, crossed by canals and surrounded by fortified town walls, through the tangle of its streets, which embroider the town's Venice district, and through the Medici Port characteristically overlooked by towers and fortresses leading to the town centre.

Designed by the architect Bernardo Buontalenti at the end of the 16th century, Livorno underwent a period of great town planning expansion at the end of the 17th century. Near the defensive pile of the Old Fortress, a new fortress, together with the town-walls and the system of navigable canals, was then built.

In the late 1580s, Ferdinando I de Medici declared Livorno a "porto Franco", which meant that the goods traded here were duty free. The "Leggi Livornine" were laws which ruled between 1590 and 1603. These laws helped the trading activities of the merchant, freedom of religion and amnesty for some penance. Thanks to these laws, Livorno became a cosmopolitan city and one of the most important ports of the entire Mediterranean area.

Many foreigners moved to Livorno; Armenians, Dutch, English, Greeks, and Jews, were among those who relocated to live and trade. Some Moriscos (Muslim Spaniards forcibly converted to Catholicism), much later, also moved to Livorno (from Spain and during the 18th century). On the 19th of March 1606, the Granduca di Toscana Ferdinando I de' Medici, in the Fortezza Vecchia Chapel of Saint Francis of Assisi elevated Livorno at the rank of city. During the Napoleonic Wars, trade with England was prohibited and the economy of Livorno suffered greatly.

Then, in 1868, after Livorno became part of the new Kingdom of Italy, she lost her, by now, traditional status of “Porto Franco” and the city's importance declined.