Monday, January 29, 2018

A Day in Livorno

Annamaria on Monday

This city on Italy's northern Mediterranean coast is the country's third largest port and the third largest city in Tuscany.  People have lived in the area since the Neolithic age.  These days, while not on the usual tourist track, it is a bustling exchange point for international commerce.  This Sunday, it was bustling for a different reason.

When the weather forecast predicted 60 degrees F and sunshine, my friend Nicoletta suggested an outing. I enthusiastically accepted since I had never visited and any day spent with Nicoletta is a pleasure.

Mother Nature cooperated with a glorious day.  Here is what it looked like:

First stop for Italians, coffee.  And for this American, a tiny ciambella.

As we walked along the seaside promenade -

Confetti on the pavement, a sure sign that it's carnevale.
And that means kids in costume.  Here's my favorite,
especially since I will soon be photographing giraffes
in the wild!
I took a great interest in the Italian naval academy, because it has a connection to a new character in my soon-to-be-released The Blasphemers. An Italian nobleman introduced in the story is an admiral.  So he must have gone to this school. 

Cadets waiting for the bus across the street from their academy

Then lunch!

We chose a place called Crudomania, that we happened upon because it was in front of a parking place we had found.  I know of nowhere else in a world where one can find such excellent food so easily.

It was a fish place, of course, decorated with entrancing three-foot long sculptures
made from miscellaneous materials.

Nicoletta chose the san pietro (john dory), upper left.  We shared all our courses.
I apologise for the fact that there is a bite taken out of every course before I thought to photograph it.   

Appetizer: Cod with sweet and sour onion

Pasta course: Spaghetti with sea urchin.  A first for me.

What the main course looked like on it's way to oven.  It was gone before
I thought to take any photo. :)

Chocolate dessert.  Quite a few bites already gone.
Cafe macchiato to finish off.
Then a stroll through the Venezia District -

So named, because it has a system of canals

Some of which run along ancient forts and bridges.
But also modern shops (This one was closed on Sunday)
My favourite Italian hero.  And a gull.

What a glorious day!

Happy, happy, LUCKY me!


  1. Fab pictures, as always, Annamaria. What a beautiful place for a day out. What was your favourite part of the city?

    1. Thank you, Zoe. That promenade along the sea was my favorite. It’s what drew us there, and it was delightful. Lots of people, walking, skating, cycling in the sunshine!

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  3. Aha! Somewhere I have been, and spent a few wonderful hours drinking coffee and eating fabulous cakes at that coffee house right on the square, people watching. I seem to recall some ice cream being involved as well. Then child no 2 fell off the pavement and we were off plaster hunting! A lovely place.

    1. Hooray! We’ve finally found a place we’ve both visited that isn’t a crime conference venue. But come to think of it Livorno might lend itself to such an event.

  4. So is this what a mystery calls "research"? If so sign me up. Wonderful day trip.

    1. I know, Jerry. I only wish I made enough off my efforts as a novelist to make this sort of thing tax deductible. It’s the worst paying, but absolutely the best job I could wish for. How about I come to C&D to do an author event once the danger of an ice storm has past?

    2. I think "Happy, happy, lucky us" is a better way to put this considering that we get to go along with you via MIE on your travels. By the way, sis, from the photographic evidence, I'd say you found more than your admiral's roots. That shadow photo most definitely is of you on the right and Vera on the left in her hat!

    3. That is not Vera, Bro. It is my boon companion Nicoletta. And she isn’t wearing a hot. That is her gorgeous curly hair!

  5. Wonderful photos. Is all of Italy beautiful?
    And, oh, how we are tormented with the photos of those meals, even the chocolate dessert.

    1. Kathy, I felt guilty about my braggadocious food photos. But I couldn’t stop myself.

      There are places all over Italy that are not so beautiful. Well, maybe not in Venice. It’s just that there is soooo MUCH beauty. In 1985 or thereabouts, UNESCO reported an inventory of the patrimony of humanity—works, not of nature, but of human hands. They concluded that 60% of those works were in Italy. And 60% of those were in Tuscany. So here I am surrounded by 36 % of the patrimony of humanity. It’s hard not to photograph it continually.

    2. OOPS, I was trying to erase my badly typed reply, Jeff, and I cut both yours and mine. So sorry. I am still having trouble with the software doing strange things. Anyway, what I was trying to say was that the shadow picture is not of me and Vera, but rather of me and my boon companion Nicoletta. And she is not wearing a hat. What you see is her gorgeous, curly hair

  6. I've never been, but Flavio, a character in my book, grew up in Livorno. He's a retired Italian sailor married a Nigerian woman, Aunty Baby, and settled in Lagos. Thanks for showing me the city of his youth :-)