Top 5 shore excursions from port of Livorno, Italy

A cruise stop at the port of Livorno is your opportunity to explore the heartlands of Tuscany and one of the prettiest regions of the Italian Riviera.

If you have chosen a Mediterranean cruise itinerary that includes Florence or Pisa, you most likely will dock at the port of Livorno, Italy. With its deep water, Livorno can easily accommodate large cruise ships carrying between 4000 to 6000 passengers.

Located just over 100 km from Florence and 30 km from Pisa, this industrial port is not particularly attractive. But the surrounding areas are stunning, so plan a shore excursion ahead of time and make the most of your day on one of our favorite stops in Italy.

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 a cruise line excursion.

Many choose to stick with the cruise line and its tour guide due to the distance of the port from the main Tuscan towns. The cruise ship will not wait for you if you are late back to the port.

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, private group.

Nowadays, some independent suppliers guarantee to get you back to the ship in time; otherwise, they offer to pay for your transport costs to the next port. Find out before you book what guarantees the company provides.

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 five top shore excursions from Livorno booked by cruise travelers like you. Which one will you pick?

1. Florence

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, walking is one of the best ways to get around Florence. Be sure to include the following main attractions in your visit. We recommend that 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 the following:

  • 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

Take your time walking from the Duomo to Piazza Della Signoria, choosing the main shopping streets of Via Roma and Via Dei Calzaiuoli. Here you will be spoilt for choice for souvenirs and Italian fashions. If you are looking for artisan workshops, cross the Arno river to Pitti Palace and the Oltrarno district for fantastic leather goods.

2. Pisa

Pisa is a destination that will divide many. Is it worth visiting or not? 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 the 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.

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.

Pisa city center is within walking distance from the Leaning Tower for better shopping and to discover an absolute treasure trove of history. However, if you combine Pisa and Florence in one excursion, the 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. Wine Tasting & the medieval village of San Gimignano

The undisputable beauty of the Tuscan countryside makes this region a bucket list destination for many.

Combine a visit to the picture-perfect medieval Tuscan town of San Gimignano with a guided wine-tasting tour at one of the many surrounding vineyards. Don’t forget to taste locally produced olive oil too.

Located 85 km east of Livorno, San Gimignano is one of the best shore excursions if you are a wine enthusiast and want a glimpse of the beautiful Tuscan countryside.

4. Lucca and Siena

Siena, 80 km south of Florence, is known for its 5th-century-old horse race, Palio di Siena. It is held in the historical center in July or 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 combine a few hours in Siena and 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. If you are with a guide, they will give you tips for where to eat, drink, and shop at the small hidden gems in the town, such as Enoteca Vanni on Piazza San Salvatore.

5. Chianti wine tour

The region of Chianti, enveloped within the rolling hills of Tuscany with vineyards on all sides, covers six municipalities between Tuscany’s capital, Florence, and Siena. It’s a vast area, and while your shore excursion to this region will give you just a glimpse of its sheer beauty, it will be enough to leave a lasting impression.

The journey from port Livorno to the Chianti region is around 2 hours, so be prepared for a long day. Wear good walking shoes, pack snacks from the breakfast buffet in your backpack, and a water bottle.

Castellina and Greve and their surrounding vineyards are the most popular places to visit. The 12th-century market town of Greve is boastful – and quite rightfully so – of its artisan shops and locally produced wines. It showcases everything you imagine a slow-paced, traditional way of Italian life should be.

Just a short distance away is the small town of Montefioralle, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful towns you will ever visit.

Thirty minutes south of Greve is Castellina. The 15th-century Rocca tower dominates the historical center. The tiny streets are packed with great shopping for authentic craft gifts. And views of vineyards, olive trees, and golden wheat fields stretch as far as the eye can see.

Choose an excursion that visits one or both of these regions and return to your cruise ship wanting more. The charms of Tuscany are such that this will not be your last visit to Italy.

Meet the author: Sarah has created and booked hundreds of travel itineraries for thousands of customers during a career in the travel industry that spans 20 years. Having worked hand in hand with cruise lines, hotels, airlines and tour operators worldwide, she offers inspiring & detailed insights in the world of travel and tourism.