Pisa Duomo next to Leaning Tower of Pisa

Livorno Cruise Port DIY Excursions: Florence, Pisa & Lucca

Do you dream of Florence’s art, Pisa’s Leaning Tower, or Cinque Terre’s coastal charm? Your Livorno cruise port stop makes it possible!

While organised tours are convenient, planning your own day trip offers flexibility. Trust me, sometimes you need a backup plan โ€“ I learned this firsthand when a storm closed Cinque Terre. Let’s dive into the best choices for your adventure!

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Livorno Cruise Port: Is a DIY Excursion Easy? ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž Doable, but Hustle Required

Livorno’s got charm and makes a great bad-weather backup, but let’s be real โ€“ everyone’s here for Florence, Pisa, and Cinque Terre. My DIY Shore Excursion rating for Livorno cruise port is ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž โ€“ it’s doable, but it takes planning! Here’s why:

  • Pisa: A breeze! 20 minutes by train, and you can even squeeze in nearby Lucca. Perfect for DIY adventurers.
  • Florence: More challenging. That 1 hour 20-minute train ride means careful timekeeping to see the top sights.
  • Cinque Terre: Unless you’re feeling hardcore, a guided tour is likely best. The scenic trains take almost 2 hours each way (with a change). Think of Livorno as a teaser โ€“ if Cinque Terre is your dream, look for cruises stopping in La Spezia and my guide on a DIY excursion to Cinque Terre from La Spezia

…and yes, those cruise lines listing cruise stops as “Florence/Pisa (Livorno)” always make me smirk ๐Ÿ˜‰

Livorno Cruise Port Essentials: All You Need to Know

Where: Piazzale dei Marmi, 12, 57123 Livorno LI, Italy

Is there a Port Shuttle Bus to Livorno Station?

  • Mandatory Shuttle: You cannot walk the pier due to port regulations. There’s a free shuttle taking you from the cruise terminal to Piazza del Municipio.
  • Train Station Distance: From Piazza del Municipio, Livorno’s train station is a 30-minute walk (1.5 miles/2.4 km). Walking or taking a local bus isn’t ideal if you’re time-pressed for a train to Florence.
  • Your Best Options:
    • Cruise Line Shuttle: If your cruise line offers a shuttle bus to Livorno station (sometimes complimentary), this is the most convenient and reliable choice.
    • Local Paid Shuttle: A โ‚ฌ7 per person shuttle runs from the cruise terminal directly to the station. While this could be a good backup, be aware of potential queues, especially during busy periods.
  • Bus to Station (Backup): From Piazza del Municipio (Port Shuttle drop-off point), Buses #1+, 8N and 105, all have stops within 1-3 mins walk away, will take you directly to the station. Use Google Maps to see live bus arrival times for the next available bus. Tap your contactless card, phone or smart watch to purchase tickets. Single tickets are โ‚ฌ1.70.
  • Taxi to Station (Backup): Taxis are always an option. But I rarely recommend relying on taxis when there are bus loads of cruisers being dropped off at the Piazza who’s also trying to flag down a taxi! If you prefer a taxi, skip the free shuttle to the Piazza and catch it from the cruise terminal instead.

Livorno Tidbits (Currency, Language, Transport, Websites)

Pisa: Home of the Leaning Tower

Beyond its iconic tilt, Pisa offers a charming Tuscan town experience. Pisa is a mere 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) from the Livorno cruise port, making it a very manageable day trip. If you’re looking for a quick and easy DIY excursion with minimal planning required, I would recommend Pisa.

1. How to get to Pisa from Livorno cruise port

Pisa is a breeze to reach via train! Here’s how:

  • Trains: Frequent trains depart from Livorno Centrale station, and the journey takes just 16-20 minutes (for cheap regional services). Check timetables on Trenitalia’s English website. Use “Pisa Centrale” as your destination.
  • Tickets: Purchase at the machines at the station. No need to pre-book. Tickets are โ‚ฌ2.80 one-way – all seats are second class. Inter-city trains will get you to Pisa marginally quicker but will be quite a bit more expensive. Cards are accepted. Don’t forget to validate your ticket before boarding!
  • From Port to Station: Use the free port shuttle to Piazza del Municipio, then take a bus to Livorno Centrale as above. (If your cruise line offers a shuttle to the station, I would recommend it as a stress-free way to get to the station quickly.)

2. Must-Do’s in Pisa for Cruisers

  • Leaning Tower (of course!): Pre-booking tickets is essential. Climb to the top for amazing views if you feel adventurous!
  • Piazza dei Miracoli (“Field of Miracles”): This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to the truly breathtaking Duomo (Cathedral), Baptistery, and Camposanto Monumentale (Monumental Cemetery).
  • Explore Pisa’s charm: Beyond the main square, Pisa offers lovely walks along the Arno River, charming streets, and great places to experience Tuscan flavors.
  • Taste Tuscan Delights: Be sure to try:
    • Pappardelle al Cinghiale: Pasta with wild boar sauce, a Tuscan classic
    • Ribollita: Hearty vegetable and bread soup
    • Cantuccini: Almond biscuits, perfect for dipping in sweet Vin Santo wine

Decided to head to Pisa? Read my Pisa Guide – Beyond the Tower: Your Perfect DIY Excursion to Pisa from Livorno Cruise Port

Florence: The Cradle of the Renaissance

Aerial city view of Florence, with the Duomo highlighted
Photo by Josh Hild

Florence, the heart of the Renaissance, is a dream destination for many cruisers. However, its popularity means careful planning is key for a successful day trip from Livorno. Despite being further from Livorno than Pisa, the journey is still manageable as a DIY excursion, provided your ship is scheduled at Livorno cruise port for at least 9-10 hours. Florence is 50 miles (80 km) from Livorno cruise port, or 1 hour 20 minutes train ride away.

But I do need to manage your expectations! I’ve visited Florence both on cruises and during longer city break stays – the city can be packed with guided cruise tours (I recognise them by those numbered stickers!). Top attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and the Duomo Dome will require tickets and need to be booked weeks in advance during peak summer periods.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Florence on your own! If your heart is set on getting inside the Uffizi Gallery, a tour might be best to secure those coveted spots. But if you’re happy to soak in the Tuscan atmosphere, explore at your own pace, and maybe discover some hidden gems, a DIY excursion can be a fantastic experience. So do manage those expectations and make your Florence day trip your own!

1. How to get to Florence from Livorno cruise port

  • Trains: The primary way to reach Florence is by train from Livorno Centrale. Trains depart frequently, and the journey takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check timetables on Trenitalia’s English website. Enter “Firenze S. M. Novella” as your destination. Firenze Santa Maria Novella station is the main train station in Florence.
  • Tickets: Purchase at the machines at the station. No need to pre-book. Tickets are โ‚ฌ10.80 one-way – all seats are second class. The regional “Tuscany Line” to Florence is the same train that goes to Pisa. Don’t forget to validate your ticket before boarding!
  • From Port to Station: Directions as above

2. Must-Do’s in Florence for Cruisers

Here are the blockbuster highlights in Florence:

  • Uffizi Gallery: Home to masterpieces by Botticelli, Michelangelo, da Vinci, and more. Pre-booking tickets is essential, several weeks in advance during peak season.
  • The Duomo: Florence’s iconic cathedral with its magnificent dome. Climbing to the top offers stunning city views. Pre-booking tickets essential to guarantee access.
  • Ponte Vecchio: This historic bridge lined with shops is a Florence landmark.
  • Piazza della Signoria: A beautiful open-air museum of sculptures.
  • Tuscan Treats: Indulge in Florentine steak (Bistecca alla Fiorentina), gelato, and delicious Tuscan wines.

Lucca: A Walled Tuscan Gem

Guinigi Tower at Lucca, Tuscany
Guinigi Tower at Lucca, Photo by Guillaume Meurice

Been to Pisa & Florence already or just want a more chilled experience without the crowds in Florence or Pisa? In that case, I would recommend doing a DIY Tuscan day-trip to Lucca instead! Lucca is about 35 km (22 miles) from Livorno cruise port and is roughly an half hour’s train ride from Livorno.

1. How to get to Lucca from Livorno cruise port

  • Trains: Lucca is easily accessible by train from Livorno Centrale. While it might involve a change, the overall journey time is comparable to Pisa.
  • From Port to Station: Use the port shuttle and then either local transport or a cruise line shuttle (if available) to reach Livorno Centrale.

2. Things to do in Lucca

  • Cycle the City Walls: Rent a bicycle and explore Lucca’s unique Renaissance-era walls, transformed into a beautiful park overlooking the city.
  • Piazza dell’Anfiteatro: This charming oval-shaped piazza, built on the site of a Roman amphitheater, is perfect for enjoying a coffee and soaking up the atmosphere.
  • Guinigi Tower: Climb this tree-topped tower for panoramic city views.
  • Puccini Museum: For opera lovers, don’t miss the composer’s birthplace now converted into a museum in his honour.
  • Stroll the Streets: Lucca’s narrow streets and piazzas are ideal for wandering and discovering shops, cafes, and hidden architectural gems.
  • Taste Lucchese Cuisine: Try local specialties like Tordelli Lucchese (meat-filled ravioli) and Buccellato (sweet bread with raisins and anise).

Decided to head to Lucca? Then read my DIY Lucca guide: Charming Lucca: A Tuscan Gem Day Trip from Livorno Cruise Port

Exploring Livorno: Your Tuscan Backup Plan

View from Terrazzo Mascagni, Livorno
View from Terrazzo Mascagni, Livorno. Image by Tarkan Kir from Pixabay

If you simply don’t want to hop on a train, here’s a Plan B for your a charming cruise port day at Livorno:

  • Terrazza Mascagni: This stunning seaside promenade offers sweeping views of the Mediterranean โ€“ perfect for a stroll or enjoying a gelato. Bus #8R will get you there in 20 minutes from Livorno port shuttle drop off point.
  • Fortezza Vecchia (Old Fortress): Discover Livorno’s rich history at this well-preserved medieval fortress with harbor views.
  • Mercato Centrale: This bustling indoor market is a feast for the senses. Sample local produce, cheeses, meats, and find the perfect Tuscan souvenir.
  • Museums: Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori offers art collections with an ornate villa setting, though of course it pales in comparison to what’s in Florence!
  • People Watch: Relax with a coffee at the bustling Piazza della Republicca, indulge in fresh seafood (Cacciucco, a fish stew), and experience the easygoing vibe of this port city.

Whether you’re drawn to Pisa’s icon, Florence’s artistic treasures, or Lucca’s relaxed charm, your DIY Tuscan adventure awaits. I hope this guide helps you plan a day trip that’s perfect for you! If you found this post helpful, please share it with fellow cruisers โ€“ let’s spread the joy of exploring beyond the ship!

Featured Image by Petr Ganaj

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