The New Fort

This Medicean fort was built by Grand-Duke Ferdinando dei Medici to protect the city to the north. The plan is attributed to Don Giovanni dei Medici, Cosimo I’s natural son, assisted by the architects Vincenzo Buonanni and Bernardo Buontalenti.

The first stone was laid on 10 January 1590. Originally the fort extended twice as far as it now does, extending to the marble bridge at the beginning of Via Borra. The military architecture of the structure is more complex than that of the Old Fort, using ramparts as extra protection for the walls which plunge straight down to the water. The walls are of red brick and sandstone running around the perimeter.
The New Fort was partly demolished to make room for two new quarters, Venezia and San Marco, built to cope with the great increase in population of the eighteenth century.
Entry to the Fort was by a drawbridge. Bombed during the Second World War, it also acted as a shelter for many Livornese whose homes had been destroyed, and who lived there until 1968.
It was subsequently renovated and now houses a public park and a hall for ceremonies or cultural events.
At the entrance to the building is a tablet commemorating those who died for the freedom of their country, and a bust of Giuseppe Mazzini.
In the park is a bronze cannon pointing towards the San Marco Gate in remembrance of the events of 10 and 11 May 1849 and the courageous defence by the people of Livorno.