Via della Madonna
Photo: © IQCruising.com
The Via della Madonna, or Madonna's Street in English, is a street in the heart of the historical city just east of Piazza Grande and intersecting Via Grande. It starts close to the Mercatto Centrale and crosses the Fosso Real into the Quartieri Venezia. The west side of the street is very close to the Shuttle Bus stop at Piazza Municipio that transports cruise ship passengers from the Cruise Port to the historical city.
Via della Madonna is a pedestrian street that boasts three churches that are some of the most famous in Livorno. Throughout its history, the street has gone by many names, depending on the ethnicity and the type of church they had there, but in 1870, it was named Via della Madonna. In 1901, it was renamed Via Giovano Bruno, but that was changed back to Via della Madonna in 1925.
Known in Italian as "Chiesa Armena di San Gregorio Illuminatore" this was the church of the Armenian community in Livorno. It was built in 1701 for the wealthy merchants that had come from the Far East following the design of architect Giovan Battista Foggini. The church was not opened until 1714 because of an argument between the heirs of the benefactor of the church. Only when they were repaid a portion of the money spent on the construction did they acquiesce. Destroyed during World War II, only the facade was rebuilt. The facade of the church is of a stunning Baroque style and the original design of the building was in the shape of the Latin cross.
The construction of this church started in 1607 under the design of Alessandro Pieroni and was consecrated in 1638. With a single nave, the church housed the alters from the various catholic countries that settled in Livorno, notably the French, the Portuguese and the Germanic-Dutch.The main altar is adorned with a statue of the Madonna and Eight Representations of the Life of Saint Anthony have been depicted above the altars. The church has a humble facade and the building was restored and updated a number of times, the latest of these being after the bombings of World War II.
Also referred in Italian as 'Chiesa della Santissima Annunziata', this Baroque-style church was built at the beginning of the 17th century as a place for the Greek Catholics to worship. The facade of the church is simple and the entrance set between two Tuscan pillars and topped off with a pediment in the shape of a triangle. The original church had two statues on the facade, Innocence and Meekness. When the church was destroyed during World War II they were found, but never put back in their original positions. Alessandro Pieroni was the main architect and the facade was added 100 years later and it isn't clear if the architect is of Giovanni Baratta or Giovan Battista Foggini.
On the north side of the street, the statue of Saint John Nepomuk (a on the Map) on the bridge that leads to the Venice Quarter is a must see. Towards the south side and the Mercato Centrale, at the intersection with Via Grande, a number of shops are impossible to miss. The Piazza Cavallotti is the site of a typically loud and lively vegetable/fruit open market.
In the viccinity of the market 3 restaurants offer different gastronomic experiences - 'Il Gennarino' (1 on the Map) is a classic and one of the Top 5 in Livorno (Via Santa Fortunata, 11); hidden at the end a small street, the 'Trattoria Antico Moro' (2 on the Map) offers a strictly fish menu (Via Bartelloni, 27); 'La Barrocciaia' (3 on the Map) is famous for its quick bites and panini (Piazza Cavallotti, 13).
|Shopping:||Major shops at Via Grande|
|Basics:||Pharmacies, ATM, Tobacconists at Via Grande|
|Flavors:||Il Gennarino, Trattoria Antico Moro and La Barrocciaia.|
|Highlights:||Three famous churches|
NOTES: Being a pedestrian street, Via della Madonna is very quiet in the blocks close to the churches but very lively and animated close to the market.
Chiesa della Madonna
Credit: Luca Aless - Creative Commons
The chappels of the French, the Portuguese and the German-Dutch as well as the alter should not be missed.
Credit: Lucarelli - Creative Commons
After the devastation of WWII the ceiling and the XVII wooden structure were restored.
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