Out of season breaks are a popular kind of holiday, and Italy is a tempting destination, but it is getting more and more difficult to find new places to go. Livorno and its province offers an opportunity for a short break to somewhere unexplored, where all tastes are catered for, and where there is a wide range of accommodation. Choose from hotels, B&Bs, self-catering apartments, and rural agriturismo.
Livorno offers a new slant on Tuscany
Livorno is only a 20 minute drive from Pisa airport which is connected to many local airports throughout Europe. Many visitors fly into Pisa and head for the famous Tuscan cities like Florence and Lucca, but why not take a new slant on Tuscany and come to Livorno? Fly into Pisa and pick up a hire car, and you could stay at one of the B&Bs or agriturismi that lie in the surrounding area - just a few miles from the city centre – thereby enjoying a peaceful setting without having to give up the facilities available in the city of Livorno with its restaurants, shops, pubs and theatres.
Even if you have been to Italy, or even Tuscany, several times before, you will be pleasantly surprised by Livorno, a sometimes scruffy but likeable place, an unpretentious and unjustly ignored port town which has a lot to offer the visitor seeking a different perspective on Tuscany.
Something for everyone in Livorno
The city and port of Livorno offers something for everyone: for seekers of culture it has theatres, alternative cinema programmes, art galleries and exhibitions, and varied music and opera seasons (see What's On), while for the active sports enthusiast it offers archery, canoeing, cycling, diving, fishing, hiking, horse riding sailing, snorkelling and windsurfing, as well as horse racing, rowing races and football for those who prefer just to watch.
Explore the Province of Livorno
You will also be in a good position to explore the Province of Livorno, the Super-Tuscan wine-producing areas to the south of the town, like Bolgheri, and the medieval hill towns like Sassetta and Suvereto, frequent venues for seasonal village fairs (Sagre) held in honour of local produce. With spring in the air, it is time for broad beans, cherries and other seasonal fruit and vegetables.
Or perhaps you will prefer to head for one of the small seaside towns, still sleepy in this out of season period, and all the more enjoyable for it. One of these, Castiglioncello, is a popular summer retreat for Florentines, but until the school holidays begin in mid-June the village is almost deserted during the week, offering regenerating strolls along its coastal path, and cafes buzzing with local chat.
Back in Livorno, gorgeous sunny days before the heat of summer call for seafront walks, outdoor aperitifs and even a bit of early sunbathing.
Where to Stay
Not long ago Bed and Breakfast accommodation was unknown in Livorno, but there is now a much better choice. B&Bs are in great locations, both in the city centre - convenient for restaurants, shopping and nightlife -, and outside town - for lovely views and peace and quiet. Agriturismi are also a good bet for a comfortable place to stay in rural tranquillity.
So Livorno could be just the thing for a real Italian get-away-from -it-all short break at any time of the year.