Central Market - Livorno Highlight

Mercato Centrale
(Central Market)

Photo of the Mercato Centrale in Livorno

Mercato Centrale

Photo by R. Rosado © IQCruising

For the cruise ship passenger interested in knowing how Italians live and how they shop for food, the ‘Mercato Centrale’ is the place to visit. Officially named 'Mercato delle Vettovaglie', the main market in Livorno is better known as 'Mercato Centrale' or 'Coperto' - Central or Covered Market in English. It is one of the main landmarks of the city and an excellent example of the iron and glass architecture that surged all over Europe in the second half of the 19th century.

Built along the ‘Fosso Reale’, after the demolition of the defensive structures that had originally been in place since the 16th century, the construction works of the Market started in 1889 and were concluded by 1904. With a 95 meters long facade the massive building is dominant in the ‘Fosso Reale’. It has four side entrances with the main entrance by the southern end of ‘Via della Madonna’.

The interior of the building has a main hall decorated with caryatids made by Lorenzo Gori, a very high ceiling, round-arched windows along the top walls and a double roof allowing light to come through. The latter was fully restored after the bombings that almost destroyed the building during the Second World War. Besides the main hall, there are two adjoining rooms: one with 22 marble counters is used to sell fish and another with 22 stands to sell vegetables. In total, the Market has 230 stands and 24 shops.

The Market has such popularity among the population of Livorno that it overflows to ‘Via Buontalenti’, the street by the main entrance, and as far as the ‘Piazza Cavallotti’ where a lively vegetable market takes place every morning. The entire area is a great place for the cruise ship passenger to enjoy people watching at its best.

Getting There

Wherever your cruise ship docks in the port of Livorno, the Piazza Grande is your best starting point for the cruise passenger to get to the Central Market. From the main square in Livorno, where the Cathedral stands, walk east along Via Grande and then turn right into Via della Madonna. The proximity of Piazza Cavallotti becomes obvious as the street becomes animated with all sort of street vendors. Once on the Piazza, the Mercato Centrale is straight ahead.

Fosso Reale - Map

Map of Mercato Centrale in Livorno with Attractions nearby


Besides all the shops on Via Grande, the open market on Piazza Cavallotti and the Duomo (Cathedral - A on the map) there are other landmarks of interest close by for the cruise passenger exploring this area of Livorno. Three squares are at walking distance: the Piazza della Repubblica, the Piazza XX Settembre - with the church of San Bernardo (d on the map) - and Piazza Cavour which has fabulous views. On the way to any of these, the 'Fosso Reale' is a must see and a highlight of the city. On the south bank of the 'Fosso' the Dutch Church (b on the map) and the 'Antonio Benci' school (c on map) are major buildings to admire.

Restaurants and Flavors

On the vicinity of the market, the editor recommends three restaurants where the cruise ship passenger can taste true flavors of Livorno. Among the Top 5 in Livorno Il Gennarino (1 on the map - Via Santa Fortunata, 11) has a classy décor serving excellent traditional cuisine ; famous for the freshness of the fish dishes in a simple, local ambience, you will find the Trattoria Antico Moro (2 on the map - Via Bartelloni, 27); If looking for a quick bite, the cruise passenger will have an amazing choice of snacks in La Barrocciaia (3 on the map), a lively and friendly restaurant right on Piazza Cavallotti.

WHERE: Historical Centre
Address: Via Buontalenti
Open: Mornings - Monday to Saturday
Closed: Sundays
Entrance: FREE

NOTES: Due to the proximity of the Mercato Centrale, there are three restaurants that are well known for the fresheness of produce - Il Gennarino, La Barrocciaia and the Antico Moro.

Look For

The Interior

Photo of Interior of Mercato Centrale in Livorno

Photo: R. Rosado © IQCruising

The main hall of the Mercato Centrale with shops displaying all the famous delicacies of Tuscany.

Fosso Reale

Photo of Fosso Reale in Livorno

Photo: R. Rosado © IQCruising

The 'Fosso Reale' is just around the corner from the Mercato Centrale and shouldn't be missed when exploring this area of the city.

Piazza XX Septembre

Photo of Piazza XX Septembre in Livorno

Photo: R. Rosado © IQCruising

The Piazza XX Settembre with the church of San Bernardo is a quaint and quite spot not far from the Mercato Centrale.

Il Gennarino

Photo of Restaurant Gennarino in Livorno

Photo: R. Rosado © IQCruising

One of the Top 5 Restaurants in Livorno, Il Gennarino is very close to the Mercato Centrale.

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Last Update: January 20, 2016

The information on this page was accurate when last updated and published but changes may have occurred without notice.
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