Travel With a Small Dog to Livorno, Tuscany in Italy
Whenever possible we always try to at least stop by the sea or ocean. Even if staying in a land locked area – if there is a large body of salt water nearby we will do our best to go and dip our toes … or paws in it. After all we sail and we simply love the smell of wet sand and salty air. that is how we ended up with some travel to Livorno with a small dog… you know who! Me!
So when we left Florence for a day trip to Pisa, we added an extra leg to go to Livorno. It only added about a half hour to our trip each way.
Livorno surprises in many ways. Once a tiny fishing village, it is now the second busiest container port in Italy. All this thanks to Cosimo I who chose this location as the site for his new port after Pisa’s harbour silted up. It is also home of the Italian marines in training.
But why does it surprise? It has an odd diversity not found elsewhere in Tuscany. Perhaps because the port was declared a free port in 1608, and thus was open to all traders regardless of religion or race. People fleeing from war or religious persecution settled here. The city boomed.
The architecture is also different in that it is more modern than the medieval or renaissance vibe the rest of Tuscany has. Mostly because Livorno was hit badly by both world wars (an American army base during WWII) and as such – rebuilt. But unlike other towns that rebuilt what had been, Livorno chose a controversial route and built to that new era. Some say it is a loss … others say it simply is what it is.
Livorno has its own little mini Venice. Built in the 17th and 18th century. It only covers a few blocks but is very scenic and worth the walk.
We focused on the beach!
The Beach is very very dog friendly! I ran like a mad man, off leash, in the wet sand! I also tried some sea urchin thanks to a local man that was cutting them open fresh for his family and insisted the bipeds and I try! It was weird – they still move even when cut in half! Spooky! It tasted good like …. salty mango.
The sand is rough, but the water is lovely. There are chairs you can rent if you are planning on spending the day. Bring a picnic if you can, there are not many restaurants along the waterfront.
It was easy enough to get from the train station to the beach – just hop on a local city bus. The bus numbers change, so make sure you ask the person that sells you the bus tickets at the little convenience store at the train station – and remember to get bus tickets for the return – they are not available for sale near the beach.
In review: Travel with a small dog to Livorno, Tuscany in Italy if you love the ocean as much as we do – Livorno is a great day trip! It is a major port and thus does lack some charm. But the dog friendly beaches and lovely, generous and joyful people certainly make up for the lack of historic charm.