1956: The Launch of the Current Version of a Centuries-Old Italian Lighthouse

September 16, 1956

A newly built lighthouse first went into service in the Tuscany region of central Italy. This lighthouse is located at the south entrance of the port of the city of Livorno, which is on the coast of the Ligurian Sea (an arm of the Mediterranean Sea). The Port of Livorno is the largest maritime facility of its kind in Italy and one of the largest in the entire Mediterranean Region. The present-day Livorno Lighthouse is a replica of a lighthouse that had been built at that same site between 1303 and 1305 and helped protect vessels in the area for well over six centuries.

The design of the original Livorno Lighthouse has been widely attributed to Giovanni Pisano (c. 1250-c. 1315), a renowned sculptor, architect, and painter who worked in that part of Italy. This version of the Livorno Lighthouse remained intact until World War II, when it became a casualty of the fierce fighting within Italy between the Axis Powers and the Allies. Specifically, on June 20, 1944, German troops blew up the lighthouse as the Allied forces were approaching the vicinity of Livorno.

A decade later, efforts to reconstruct the lighthouse began in earnest. This version of the Livorno Lighthouse made its public debut on September 16, 1956, the 350th anniversary of when Livorno was officially designated a city. The new lighthouse was inaugurated by Giovanni Gronchi (1887-1978), who served as president of Italy from 1955 to 1962.

This lighthouse remains in service today. It is operated by the Italian Navy (Marina Militare).

Photo Credit:  Gianni Careddu (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)

For more information on both versions of the Livorno Lighthouse, please check out https://uslhs.org/sites/default/files/articles_pdf/livorno_italy.pdf

Additional information on lighthouses in Italy’s Tuscany region is available at https://www.ibiblio.org/lighthouse/itanw2.htm

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