If you have chosen a Mediterranean itinerary that promotes one of your stops being Florence or Pisa, you most likely will dock at Livorno, Italy. And there are some essential things to know before you book your cruise and shore excursions from the port of Livorno.
The Port of Livorno is just over 100 km from Florence and nearly 30 km from Pisa. If you dock at Livorno, you almost certainly have chosen one of the biggest cruise ships to explore the Mediterranean, which takes between 4000 to 6000 passengers. Livorno accommodates ships of this size that need deep water to berth.
The port itself is industrial and not particularly attractive. But the surrounding areas are stunning. This is your port of call to explore one of the prettiest regions of the Italian Riviera.
A private tour with an independent supplier or a cruise line shore excursion?
The biggest dilemma for cruise guests when booking shore excursions from the port of Livorno is whether to book a private day tour with an independent supplier or an excursion with the cruise line.
Many choose to stick with the cruise line and its tour guide due to the distance of the port from the main Tuscan towns. If you are late back to the port for any reason, the cruise ship will wait for you.
If, on the other hand, you choose to book independently of the cruise line, you are responsible for making sure your guide gets you back to the ship in time. However, this option allows you more flexibility in designing your tour. And you often have more time at each destination when traveling in a small group.
Nowadays, some independent suppliers guarantee to get you back to the ship in time; otherwise, you pay for your transport costs to the next port. Find out before you book what guarantees the company offers.
Then, of course, there is the price. Cruise line excursions are expensive, and many cruise travelers think they get better value for money by booking private tours. We tend to agree.
Top 5 shore excursions from the port of Livorno
Here are the 4 top shore excursions from Livorno booked by cruise travelers like you. Which one will you pick?
Known as the Jewel of the Renaissance, Florence is one of the world’s most beautiful and well-known cities. The medieval center is a UNESCO World Heritage Center, packed with cultural attractions, including famous art museums, the Ponte Vecchio, and Pitti Palace. Florence is probably the most popular Livorno shore excursion booked by cruise guests.
Once you have arrived in the city, one of the best ways to get around Florence is by foot so you can see many of the sites during your visit. Be sure to include the following main attractions in your tour. We recommend you start at the cathedral, the Duomo, in the city’s center. See the Golden Doors of the Baptistry and visit the museum if you are interested in history and artifacts. From here, visit:
- Piazza della Signoria
- Galleria dell’Academia (Michelangos David Statue)
- Uffizi Gallery (in particular Botticelli’s Primavera and The Birth of Venus)
- Ponte Vecchio
- Pitti Palace
- Piazzale Michelangelo
En route, take your time between the Duomo and Piazza Della Signoria, visiting the main shopping streets of Via Roma and Via Dei Calzaiuoli. If you are looking for artisan workshops, cross the Arno river to Pitti Palace and the Oltrarno district for fantastic leather goods.
Pisa is a destination that will divide many. Is it worth visiting or not? The big plus is that Pisa is just 40 minutes from the port. And the Leaning Tower is a famous landmark many will want to see.
The Square of Miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli) is where your excursion motor coach will stop. Here you will find the monuments of the famed Leaning Tower, The Pisa Baptistry, and Pisa Cathedral.
If you want to climb the tower, pre-book your tickets. You can book online for about 24 euros per person. Your ticket gives you 30 minutes at the top to allow other guests to enjoy the view.
Alternatively, you can climb the Baptistry to the platform for amazing views. And go inside the cathedral to see beautiful mosaics, it’s free.
But some visitors are disappointed to see only souvenir stands lining the road next to the famous Leaning Tower, Pisa Cathedral, Pisa Baptistry, and Campanile. And not much else.
While that may be true, Pisa city center, within walking distance from the Leaning Tower, is a treasure trove of history. However, if you combine Pisa and Florence in one excursion, the long travel distance and tight schedule will unlikely give you time in the historic center.
So if you want to see Pisa, we recommend making it a half-day excursion. Be sure to book a guide and explore the historic center too.
3. San Gimignano and Wine Tasting in Tuscany
The undisputable beauty and rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside make this region a bucket list destination for many.
And the town of San Gimignano is a picture-perfect medieval Tuscan town. On a guided wine tasting tour, walk the narrow cobbled streets and visit one of the many vineyards. Don’t forget to taste locally produced olive oil. San Gimignano is one of the best shore excursions from port Livorno if you are a wine enthusiast and want to see the Tuscan countryside.
4. Lucca and Siena
Siena, 80km south of Florence, is known for its 5th-century-old horse race, Palio di Siena. It is held in the historical center in July and August amid a festive atmosphere. Competing neighborhoods meet in the central piazza, Il Campo, which is transformed into a race track.
Start your day in Siena by exploring the cathedral. Siena’s grand Duomo is recognizable from afar by its Gothic green and white stripes. The cathedral has extraordinary mosaics and frescoes, both inside and out. The narrow streets nearby are home to unique shops and workshops of local artisans. The Fountain of Joy’s medieval fountain is an ideal spot to sit, relax, and enjoy the atmosphere like a true Senese.
It is possible to see a lot with a few hours in Siena followed by a half day spent in Lucca. A guided tour by bus from Livorno port is the best way to ensure you have time in both towns.
Soak up the culture and atmosphere of historic Lucca by walking in the medieval center. Follow this with a tour of local vineyards. There are often small hidden gems to be found in the town, and a local guide will help you find them and even give you tips for where to eat, drink, and shop.