Montenero
A legendary sanctuary facing the sea

Located on a 300-metre-tall hill, views from Montenero are vast and spectacular, spanning from the sea to the mountains. From here the views stretch from the rock of Meloria, known for the betrayal of Count Ugolino (1284) and for the famous battle between Genoa and Pisa, to the Livorno lowland and its port, then up to Pisa. In the south, there are the islands of Elba, Corsica and Sardinia, which have views of incredible sunsets.

Montenero gets its name from an ancient rumour that the place once had a gloomy appearance, perhaps because the mountain was covered with dense forests and teeming with bandits who likely waited for the arrival of ships to raid.  

What to see in Montenero

The noteworthy fame of Montenero is mostly due to its well-known Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Grazie, whose origins date back to Pentecost of 1345. According to tradition, a poor shepherd with disabilities came across the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary and, following an inner intuition, took it to the hill of Montenero.

It's easy to access neighbouring Livorno via bus and and funicular railway, which arrives at the piazza in front of the sanctuary. The upper piazza was commissioned by 19th-century monks as a sort of outdoor atrium for the sanctuary.

From one side, you can admire the front of the church, from the other the civic famedio, which is the series of chapels where many famous Livorno residents are buried, including Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi, Giovanni Marradi, Carlo Meyer, Giovanni Fattori and a memorial tombstone for Pietro Mascagni and Amedeo Modigliani.

Nearby

From Montenero, journey towards the Livorno coast. The city of Livorno will surprise you with its famous Terrazza Mascagni, characterized by a very particular black and white checkerboard floor.

Another symbol of the city of Labronica is the Monument of the Four Moors, found near the port and the Old Fortress.

Heading south, the town of Quercianella rises above the sea, surrounded by the green of the pine forest with scents of the Mediterranean scrub.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for picture perfect views of cypress trees and rounded hills, head to Collesalvetti. Here, you'll find the Medici Villa purchased by Lorenzo and Giuliano de 'Medici in 1476.

Events

September 8th is a special day in Montenero: this is the date of a popular festival during which the Livorno pilgrimage to the sanctuary happens continuously and the space is lit up until well into the night, even after the Marian procession from the Chapel of the Apparition.

Typical dishes and products

Montenero cuisine reflects the gastronomic traditions of the Livorno area. In this area, the "king" of the table is undoubtedly cacciucco, a particular fish soup that has become a symbol of Livorno.

As well as meals based on fish, there are tasty dishes based on game, such as pappardelle with wild boar or hare.