Livorno (our GI grandpas called it “Leghorn” for some reason)

If we’re being totally honest, our awful trip on the Grimaldi ferry and subsequent night spent at the train station in Genova had us a little less than excited about Italy. We knew that there was more to this country than just being lost in the rain and listening to babies cry, but we had not yet experienced the other side of Italy. Thankfully Nathan has family in Livorno and their company was infinitely more enjoyable than that of old Sandwhich-For-Brains and his crew.

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Nathan’s Aunt Joyce was our guide all throughout the week we spent in Livorno. She made sure we saw as much as possible. Often times we would have to run to catch up with her after stopping to take a photo.
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In the market one can find anything from the best donuts in the world to the crappiest bedazzled tank-tops in the world. Here a man chops artichokes and shouts all about it to the crowds.
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Livorno has been one of the poorest cities in the country since the 1870’s. It has a deep left-wing tradition. People tell us that Livorno is a “Communist city” and the evidence is written on the walls.
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Nathan’s cousin Angie guides us around the city. In between sewing class and teaching theater, she also finds time to show us the canals, cannons, forts, and monuments.
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Jason demonstrates the proper use of a murder-hole with an imaginary crossbow.
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One of several monuments to Italy’s antifascist partisans. You’d be hard pressed to find someone with a negative word to say about the partisans. Angie told us that if you walk around singing Bella Ciao, strangers will join in. We didn’t try this but we did sing with Nathan’s family over dinner one night.
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The birthplace of the historic, now defunct, Italian Communist Party in Livorno.
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Nathan inspects what turned out to be a former office of the Partito Communista Rifondazione (Refoundation). We would spend a lot of time trying to track down the current office, thankfully Angie and Joyce read Italian perfectly.
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After talking to several strangers at coffee shops, doing the necessary leg work, and standing outside a bedroom window as a helpful gentleman shouted up at the unresponsive occupant, we eventually got in touch with a member of the PCR. He told us about an upcoming demonstration in Rome to defend Article 18 of the constitution (currently under attack) which enshrines the people’s right to organize and form associations.
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We spent a bit of time on the shore, climbing rocks and looking out at the numerous tankers coming into port. We decided that even though we’d like to taste the Mediterranean (and compare it to the Atlantic) that we would rather wait until there were fewer freighters spewing less pollution.

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