Livorno, English traditionally Leghorn, is a port city on the Ligurian Sea on the western coast of Tuscany, Italy.

It is the capital of the Province of Livorno, having a population of approximately 160,000 residents in 2013. Third largest city by population in the region (after Florence and Prato) and fifth in central Italy. With the neighboring towns of Pisa and Collesalvetti is also a vertex of the so-called “industrial triangle”, whose population amounts to over 260,000 inhabitants.

Livorno was designed as an “ideal town” during the Italian Renaissance, when it was ruled by the Grand Duke of the Medici family. Major additions were designed by the architect Bernardo Buontalenti at the end of the 16th century. The Medici port was overlooked and defended by towers and fortresses leading to the town centre.

In the late 1580s, Ferdinando I of Tuscany declared Livorno a porto franco or free port, which meant that the goods traded here were duty-free within the area of the town’s control.
To regulate this trade, in 1590 the Duke’s administration established the Leggi Livornine. These laws were in force until 1603, until the beginning of the Counter-Reformation.
The laws established a well-regulated market, protecting merchant activities from crime and racketeering, and instituted laws regarding international trade.

Additionally, expanding Christian tolerance, the laws offered the right of public freedom of religion and amnesty to people having to gain penance given by clergy in order to conduct civil business. The Grand Duke attracted numerous Jewish immigrants, beginning in the late sixteenth century from the expulsion from Spain and Portugal, and extended them rights and privileges; they contributed to the mercantile wealth and scholarship in the city.

Livorno became an enlightened European city and one of the most important ports of the entire Mediterranean area. Many European foreigners moved to Livorno.

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