The ferry “Oglasa” was built in Palermo, Sicily, in 1980 and usually links the port of Piombino, 100 kilometers south of Livorno, with Portoferraio, on the island of Elba.The ship, called with the old name of the island of Montecristo, arrived here in late January for the usual maintenance works and an extra fix to the bow.
The “Scolmatore” is hardly the Litani or the Yalu river, but even if you usually cross this bridge without a thought, you will soon be surrounded by people who speak a different Tuscan dialect, which is a subtle difference lost even on most Italians ears but quickly caught by locals.Livorno has mostly a rocky coast, while the stretch from here to the mouth of the river Arno is sandy. In the first part is full of former “colonie” (sort of summer camps), then of nice beach resorts. I am not sure if this is the Pisan idea of the seat for a life guard, but I won't be surprised.Another thing I don't know (I am not so knowledgeable of Pisan things) is what are these perfectly round balls on the beach. There are thousands of them in various sizes.This heron is obviously on the Pisan side of the canal only because heavy machinery is at work on our side.Not many boats here and not in very good shape.
On this bench Gigi, a homeless, spent most of his daily time, asking sometime for a cigarette and accepting money, but never begging. He died last Tuesday for a fall from a parapet of the “Mercato Centrale”. He had lost his makeshift shelter in a fire few days ago and someone even stole his dog.
The sign says: For us you'll be here forever... Goodbye Gigi.
“Baracchina” literally means small shack, but it is used here to define a structure, formerly in wood, on our “lungomare” which houses a bar or a cafe. There are several along “Viale Italia”, but the most famous one and the coolest is the “Baracchina Rossa”.The first incarnation of the “Baracchina”, built in 1897, when it was known as “Alhambra”. The postcard is probably of the first years of the 1900's, before the construction of the new annex.The second postcard is dated around 1942 and shows the place almost as it is now. By the way “Baracchina Rossa” is Red Chalet.The third postcard may be late 60s or early 70s and, as you can see, only the chairs are different. The “Baracchina Rossa” has a website and a Facebook fan page, both in Italian.
Yesterday I posted this image by mistake, and luckily my friend Stefano corrected me. This is not the old “Baracchina”, but the nearby chalet “Scoglio Garibaldi” (Garibaldi's Rock). Stefano sent me the correct postcard, now included in the original post.
Before leaving the Pisan soil we took some pictures of the port of Livorno from the other bank of the “Scolmatore”, the Arno River flood bypass canal and a border between the two municipalities. This is the cargo area of the port we never see, less picturesque of the old “Porto Mediceo”, but impressive in its own way.Beyond the cranes and the light poles we can see the 54 meter tall Marzocco tower, built in the mid 15th century by the Medicis. The tower is completely covered in white marble and took its name from the lion symbol of the Florentine Republic.Far away we can see the old cranes of the familiar part of the port.
Spring at sea comes a month earlier. Not this year. Some spring cleaning is going on: washed stuffed animals hung to dry outside a window in Via Buontalenti.The bicycle is gone, but the wheel is still safely locked to the rack.The off-leash dog area in Piazza della Vittoria, in background the church of Santa Maria del Soccorso.Via della Ragnaia (Spiderwebbery Street), no cars parked here.Guard dogs on the roof of this house on Scali delle Cantine.
Coming back from our mission in Pisan territory hunting for an oversized sea beaver, we drove through “Via delle Cateratte” (Water-Gates Road), where two old chimneys of the now defunct “Vetreria Borma” (Borma Glass Factory) are still standing.The 60 meter chimneys are all that is left of the old factory. Until a few years ago a canal, now interred, ran for all the length of the road, which now borders the port area on the left.Where the factory once was, behind the chimneys, there are now the buildings of the Customs Office of Livorno.
No it isn't one of those picturesque and full of history names of an English pub. There actually are a dog, a tortoise and a swan, or better their effigies. I found this vigilant dog near the dilapidated “Villa Valsovano”, in “Via Venuti”, where the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley lived occasionally from 1819 to 1821.We haven't yet seen the “Palazzo Santa Elisabetta” (St Elisabeth's Palace) in “Piazza Attias”, but I can show you a large tortoise dwelling in its gallery.The last Sunday market in “Piazza Cavour”, where a poor swan was lost amidst the bric-a-brac.
A sea monster has arrived in the waters of Livorno: it is the 168 meter long and 68 meter wide “Castoro 7” (Beaver 7). The beast will stay around for a while and it is not made of chocolate.With a plethora of ancillary boats, it is laying pipes for a LNG FSRU (Liquefied Natural Gas - Floating Storage and Regasification Unit). This means an off-shore converted gas tanker unloading liquefied natural gas from other tankers, bringing it back to gaseous state and feeding it ashore.To take these pictures from the beach of Tirrenia, I had to venture on hostile Pisan soil, with the help of my friend Paolo, a native.
I swear that this is my last post about “Choccolandia”, but I had to show you this chocolate hardware: scissors, padlocks, pliers, ball bearings and even carburettors.What about a chocolate “Moka Express”, our legendary coffee pot.You can screw and unscrew this bolt and, eventually, eat it.
The “Compagnia del Dolce Siciliano” (Company of the Sicilian Sweet) is from Follonica, Tuscany, but they have a real Sicilian heritage and they show it with their gorgeous “marzapane”.They had a stall in “Choccolandia”, where they showed us how they fill the legendary Sicilian “cannoli”.See also: Choccolandia
Last year it was at the Maritime Terminal, this weekend it has been in the central “Via della Madonna”: three days of “Choccolandia” with any kind of chocolate you can imagine and beyond.Chocolate animals, in dark, milk, and white varieties.Chocolate lollipops, molded into various shapes.Candied citron strips covered with chocolate. Even salami are made of chocolate.
The abandoned temple of the Dutch-German Congregation on the “Scali degli Olandesi” (“Olandesi” is Dutchmen), along the “Fosso Reale”. Below, the same place in a postcard dated about one hundred years ago. As often happens here, not so many changes.The more striking difference is the embankment, rebuilt several years ago in reinforced concrete, after the collapse of the old one.This is the only tract of the canals in Livorno without the original stone wall.
Wile Coyote and Taz reflected in the windows of the “Caffè Cellini”, a bar and restaurant inside the “Porto Mediceo”.The Looney Tunes characters are still painted on the hull of the “Mobi Aki”, but they would clearly like to sit at the bar.