Friday, September 30, 2011

Star Princess

Star Princess, cruise ship, LivornoThe 290 meter “Star Princess” was built in 2002 by Fincantieri in Monfalcone, Italy. A cigarette left burning on a balcony almost destroyed this ship in 2006, while en route from Grand Cayman to Montego Bay, after departing Fort Lauderdale.Star Princess, cruise ship, LivornoThe fire caused scorching damage in up to 150 cabins, and smoke damage in at least 100. A passenger died and thirteen others suffered from significant smoke inhalation.Star Princess, cruise ship, LivornoThe ship was repaired and refitted at the Lloyd Werft shipyards in Bremerhaven, sprinklers were added to all balconies and the plastic furniture was replaced with non-combustible alternatives.

See also: Star Princess (Wikipedia)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Charlie White

Montgomery Carmichael was a British consular official and then consul in Livorno from 1890 to 1922. After retiring, he lived in Livorno until his death in 1936. He published his Tuscan Towns, Tuscan Types and the Tuscan Tongue in 1901. This is the second of three posts, from a chapter of the book, where we make further acquaintance with the resourceful Carlo Bianchi.

Old Postcard, Quattro Mori, LivornoThis happened six years ago. I know my friend very well now, and prize him highly. His name is Carlo Bianchi; he is keeper of a boarding-house for English seamen. His dominant trait — if we put aside great natural good-nature — is an absorbing, awe-stricken admiration for everything and everybody English. You can only pain him in one way — if you call him either “Carlo” or “Bianchi” He calls himself “Charlie White,” and spells Charlie “Cialì,” on the card which announces that he has a “home” offering every comfort to members of the Mercantile Marine. It is this passionate admiration of everything British that prompts him, when he has nothing better to do, to go off in a boat to the steamers in the hope of being able to assist some helpless English traveller. He often meets with scant courtesy and withering scepticism at their hands, but remains undauntedly revering. We must indeed be a great and proud nation to have aroused all this admiration in the bosom of a Tuscan man of the world like “Cialì,” for as a rule he sees but degenerate specimens of the Britisher. The members of the English Mercantile Marine who come under his fatherly care are too often the worst of the class, men who have deserted from their ships, or lost their ships through drunken orgies, or who have been politely lodged in the tempered seclusion of a Tuscan gaol, or the still milder fastnesses of the strong room of the Town Hospital consequent upon a Bacchanalian night-brawl. If he encouraged their vices he would get more men into his house, and put more money in his pocket But he routs them out of unsavoury places, reclaims the wages of which they have been fleeced, packs them into boats, and sends them off to their ships to save them from desertion; and all this because he reveres the mighty British nation even in its dregs.
Nearly every morning “Cialì” presents himself at my house with the respectful offer of his services. I have to invent commissions to save him from lapsing into despondency. I do not pay him. He borrows freely, but always pays back. He will accept an old suit of clothes gladly, and wears it with swagger and distinction. I visit his fat “Signora” at the boarding-house sometimes, and contrive to slip trifles into the children's money-boxes. Filthy lucre I can only pass off on him by resorting to ruse. A firm of solicitors in England is paying for this, I say, or an English shipowner wants such and such a thing done; then all “Chalì's” scruples vanish. But I have to use this species of finesse sparingly, for he is wily and observant, well versed in every branch of honest deception, and a past-master in the gentle art of giving without seeming to give. Certainly his faith in human nature would receive a rude shock if he were ever to detect me in anything so perfidious as an attempt to reward devoted services which were meant to be given out of pure loyalty and affection.

First of three parts - Second of three parts - Third of three parts

Montgomery Carmichael, “In Tuscany”
John Murray, London 1901

See also: In Tuscany - Leghorn “la Cara”

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Carousel Walk

Two-tiered carousel, piazza della Repubblica, LivornoThe two-tiered carousel in “Piazza della Repubblica”.Front door, via Sansoni, LivornoAn elegant front door in “Via Sansoni”.Colorful scaffolding sheeting, corner building, via Piave, via San Francesco, LivornoScaffolding covers are usually dull, a bit less in “Via Piave”.Toilet ventilation grate, via Gazzarrini, LivornoOld grate, part of a toilet ventilation system in “Via Gazzarrini”.Flasks and bottles of wine in a window, via Buontalenti, LivornoA “fiasco” of Tuscan wine is born in “Via Buontalenti”...

More Walks

Monday, September 26, 2011

Funny Cars

Mare Blu (Blue Sea) seafood shops, Livorno
“Blue Sea” (seafood shops)

Do not quarrel, substitute car, Livorno
“Do not quarrel!” (Substitute car)

Potato Octopus Animation, event planning, Livorno
“Potato Octopus Animation” (Event planning)

See also: Spider-Man & Jaws

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Unpaid Factotum

Montgomery Carmichael was a British consular official and then consul in Livorno from 1890 to 1922. After retiring, he lived in Livorno until his death in 1936. He published his Tuscan Towns, Tuscan Types and the Tuscan Tongue in 1901. This is the first of three posts from a chapter of the book describing his first arrival in a late 19th century Livorno.

Old postcard, porto Mediceo, LivornoHe was the first acquaintance I made in Tuscany. I was leaning over the steamers side looking down at the swarm of boats that surrounded her. I knew no word of the Tuscan tongue, and was dimly wondering how I should get myself and my luggage ashore, and to what extent I should be fleeced in the process, when a brown, clear eye from a boat below caught mine full. It belonged to a gaunt creature in blue serge suit and boating cap, with the face of a Mephistopheles and the bearing and manners of an Archangel. And from his mouth there issued (O dulcet sound!) English — as she is spoke, it is true — but English intelligible with an effort.
“Inglis gen'lman?” he queried with a polite grin.
I nodded, distrustfully perhaps.
“You come my boat, sair — ver good boat”
I reflected a moment. The Mephistophelean face in repose I distrusted profoundly; animated, it seemed to glow with an extra dose of the milk of human kindness. For better or for worse I would go in his boat.
“All right!” I shouted down.
“Au'ri! Au’ri!” he shouted back with great contentment; and in two minutes more he was beside me on the deck possessing himself of my hand-bags and excitedly bawling directions about my big trunks.
We landed without misadventure; a cab of my guide's approving sprung, as if by magic, from the quay-side. He openly prevented me giving a silver five-franc piece to the boatman, and made that angry, baffled worthy content himself with two. Then came the difficult question of tipping him. I fingered a variety of coins diffidently, and finally got ready the five-franc piece he had saved me.
“What hotel you go to, gen'lman?”
I told him, and tried surreptitiously to pass the five-franc piece upon him. He pushed my arm politely away, gently forced me into the cab, and in a trice was on the box beside the driver.
At the hotel he came up to my room, and patiently and gleefully unstrapped all my boxes. “No spend silver moneys here,” he said confidentially; “sell silver moneys and spend paper moneys. Me show Mister t'morr' mawnin'.” Again I fumbled for the five-franc piece, but he was already at the door bowing me a stately “goo'-bye, sair!” I never managed to pass that particular tip it was the first of a series of defeats which I sustained in attempts to reward loyal and valuable services.

First of three parts - Second of three parts - Third of three parts

Montgomery Carmichael, “In Tuscany”
John Murray, London 1901

See also: In Tuscany - Leghorn “la Cara”

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thank You

Thank you mayor for this beauty, Livorno“Scali delle Ancore”, the Livornesi are always grateful: “Thank you mayor for this beauty”.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mine Hunters

Mine hunter, Duero M35, Bad Bevensen M1063, LivornoThe “Palinuro” and the “Amerigo Vespucci” weren't the only Navy ships in Livorno last weekend. We had the German “Bad Bevensen” (M1063) and Spanish “Duero” (M35), both mine hunters.Mine hunter, Bad Bevensen M1063, Duero M35, LivornoThey don't sweep mines anymore now, but actively hunt for them. It remains a mistery what kind of ship actually deploy the mines: I have never seen a boat openly called mine deployer...Fast attack craft tender Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasa A579, minehunter Akçay M270, LivornoTwo Turkish ships were moored nearby: the attack craft tender “Cezayirli Gazi Hasan Pasa” (A579) and the “Akçay” (M270), another mine hunter, both former German Navy boats.

See also: Palinuro and Vespucci - Tall Ships Walk

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Behind the Door

Dietro l'uscio (Behind the door), pub, Livorno“Dietro l'uscio” is a pub. Its name, which literally means “behind the house door”, is a way to say that something is really close.Pane e tulipani (Bread and tulips), restaurant, LivornoIn May 2009 the same place was called “Pane e tulipani” (Bread and Tulips), probably from a 2000 romantic comedy movie by the Italian director Silvio Soldini.

External links: Bread and Tulips (Wikipedia)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tall Ships Walk

Training ship Palinuro, LivornoMy last walk on Livornese soil was at the end of August, you saw it in three installments during our holidays. The following pictures were taken aboard the two training ships actually in port, a short but very rewarding walk beginning with a polished compass on the “Palinuro”.Training ship Palinuro, Livorno“Faventibus ventis” is the Latin for “by favourable winds”, which is the motto of the ship.Training ship Amerigo Vespucci, LivornoA brass cover, this time on board the “Amerigo Vespucci”.Training ship Amerigo Vespucci, LivornoEverything is neatly arranged on the deck of the “Vespucci”.Training ship Amerigo Vespucci, LivornoBeyond the polished brass and the netting, a view of the port.

External links: Amerigo Vespucci (Wikipedia)
See also: Palinuro - Faventibus Ventis - Palinuro and Vespucci
Search labels: Amerigo Vespucci
More Walks

Monday, September 19, 2011

Palinuro and Vespucci

Training ships Palinuro, Amerigo Vespucci, LivornoThe training ships “Palinuro” and “Amerigo Vespucci” are here in port at the same time.Training ship Amerigo Vespucci, Livorno
“Amerigo Vespucci”

Training ship Palinuro, Livorno

Training ships Palinuro, Amerigo Vespucci, Livorno
“Palinuro” and “Amerigo Vespucci”

External links: Amerigo Vespucci (Wikipedia)
See also: Palinuro - Faventibus Ventis - Tall Ships Walk
Search labels: Amerigo Vespucci

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Lives by Giorgio Vasari, Mario Coltellini printer, LivornoThe frontespice of a 1767 edition of the “Le Vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori da Cimabue insino a' tempi nostri” (Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times), a collection of artist biographies written by 16th century Italian painter and architect Giorgio Vasari. This edition of the book was printed in Livorno by Marco Coltellini.

See also: “Encyclopédie” - American Gazetteer
Marco Coltellini - Lives - Giorgio Vasari (Wikipedia)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011


Modulblock, bunker, blast containment wall, LivornoThis kind of huge concrete module is called Modulblock, but they look like oversized Lego bricks. They are normally used to control landslides and to strenghten embankments.Modulblock, bunker, blast containment wall, LivornoThese blocks were used to build the blast containment wall for the defusing of the WWII unexploded bomb found in Venezia and now they are being removed.Modulblock, bunker, blast containment wall, LivornoEach block is 160 cm (5' 3") long and has a weight of two tons.Modulblock, bunker, blast containment wall, LivornoBefore continuing the excavation of the canal, the whole area will be scanned again to avoid other buried surprises.

Search labels: new canal
External links: Modulblock (Prefabbricati LP)
See also: Bombs on the Cover - An Useless Dig - Canale dei Navicelli - Viale Caprera - Micropoles - New Venice - A New Canal - Crash - The Dig - Building the Canal - Venice's Canal - The Old “Cantina” - Along the New Canal - Under Construction - The Bomb - The Buried Bomb - The Wall

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Harshad Number

Two New Fiat 500, LivornoA Harshad number, or Niven number in a given number base, is an integer that is divisible by the sum of its digits when written in that base. Harshad numbers were defined by D. R. Kaprekar, a mathematician from India. The word “Harshad” comes from the Sanskrit harṣa (joy) + da (give), meaning joy-giver. (Wikipedia)

1000 is a typical Harshad number and it really gives us joy, but for an almost unmathematical reason: this is our thousandth post! Considered that the only thing around containing this number was an unexploded 1000-pound bomb, we settled for two Fiat 500.

See also: Harshad number - Fiat 500 (2007) (Wikipedia)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Long Walk - 3 of 3

Fanlight window, front door, LivornoFanlight window above a front door, “Piazza della Vittoria”.Florence Tattoo Convention 2011, poster, LivornoWe definitely will not attend...Potable water gate valve, LivornoSeen as it is, some old (drinking) water gate valve is hidden here.Bell tower, church of San Benedetto, LivornoThe bell tower of the church of “San Benedetto”.Parked Smart, via Fagiuoli, LivornoA street scene in “Via Fagiuoli”.

See also: Long Walk (1 of 3) - Long Walk (2 of 3) - More Walks

Monday, September 12, 2011

Balcony Railings

Balcony railing with monogram, Livorno
Brand new in “Via Magenta”

Balcony railing, Livorno
Modern in “Piazza della Repubblica”

Balcony railing, Livorno
Old fashioned in “Via de' Tivoli”

Yesterday the WWII bomb was successfully defused and today we are returning from Berlin. The two facts are completely unrelated.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years

Tiles for America, 7th Avenue at 11th Street, New York That day we were not in Livorno, but taking a vacation in London. So when it happened we didn't know at first, until we saw people gathering in front of some TV sets in a department store, watching something almost unbelievable.Tree, US Embassy, September 12, 2001, LondonThe day after we went to the American Embassy, where people were leaving flowers at a tree draped with an American flag. Soon there were too many and they had to move them to another place, where the 9/11 memorial is now.

(First photo: Tiles for America, 7th Avenue at 11th Street, New York)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Wall

Blast containment wall around the WWII bomb found in Livorno
[Photo by Stefano]
This is the five-meter tall blast containment wall built around the unexploded 1000 pound WWII bomb found during the excavation of the new canal in the Venice quarter of Livorno. The ordance will be defused tomorrow, after the evacuation of six thousand people.

Search labels: new canal
External links: How did the bomb get here? (Video) - Evacuation Zone (Il Tirreno)
See also: Bombs on the Cover - An Useless Dig - Canale dei Navicelli - Viale Caprera - Micropoles - New Venice - A New Canal - Crash - The Dig - Building the Canal - Venice's Canal - The Old “Cantina” - Along the New Canal - Under Construction - The Bomb - The Buried Bomb - Modulblock

Friday, September 9, 2011

Baby Boys

Newborn, baby ribbon, cockade, Livorno
“I have arrived, my name is Cesare”

Newborn, baby ribbon, cockade, Livorno
“Michael is born”

Newborn, baby ribbon, cockade, Livorno
“Francesco is born”

See also: Baby Girls