Warning: this post is photo-heavy!
In an attempt to (a) fit in like a local, and (b) reduce the effort I have to make to maintain sunblocker on my person, I tend to wear long trouser/jeans in almost any temperature, unless I know I’ll end up spending most of the day in high heat.
I took a look at the temperatures I had been experiencing in Volterra, and the morning we decided to go to the acquarium in Livorno, I compared them to the weather there. A few degrees cooler on the coast today – easy-peasy!
We hopped in the car, and Niamh drove at first to near the outskirts of Cecina, before taking the carriageway north to Livorno. Towards the end, the road lanes reduced to one each side, and hugged the coast a bit more. My God there were tons of people attending beaches. In some cases, cars and scooters lined the roads for kilometers at a time. It was August alright – Italians on holiday everywhere! Some of the scenery along the coast was nice. I couldn’t take shots, as I was the navigator for the journey, and was glued to my phone.
We drove around the outskirts of town, and found our way to the acquarium carpark. There was a queue to get it. Not having sufficient patience, we motored instead to a carpark about 600 meters north, and parked handily enough – albeit in an exposed spot. The car would be warm when we got back, but so what?
I got out.
And I was hit with what I could only describe was something to the wall of steam you generate in a shower. I had neglected the check the humidity. It was around the 85-85% mark, versus Volterra’s mid 40’s. Ok, it’s not quite Florida or Thailand, but it didn’t take long to discover that I had made a cruel mistake by wearing jeans. Thankfully my anxiety wasn’t too bad on the day, or such oppressive heat would have exacerbated it.
I only paused a couple of times to take snaps on the way back to the acquarium. There was a little nervousness from the pair of us, as we were unsure from the website as to whether or not we had to book tickets in advance due to the Covid situation.
We got to the acquarium and we were able to get tickets just by queueing. They were only letting so many people in the building to keep people social distancing as best as possible. Everyone had to mask up – never fun when you’re anxious, but that’s what mindfulness tools are for.
We only had to wait 15-20 minutes and we were in and looking. Generally, people were waiting for sections to be free of people before moving on, so it sort of led to a giant queue going around the facility. I say ‘sort of’, because of course everyone lost their patience and moved on and mingled anyway. Humans gotta human.
We took a monstrous number of snaps.
One of the other reasons I wanted to visit Livorno was right next to the acquarium: Piazza Mascagni – a huge, checker-boarded promenade along the shorefront.
We first got to see it from a terrace a couple of floors up within the acquarium building.
We went back in, and had visited an exhibition of lizards and insects within the acquarium building. This was a nice little surprise addition.
And after we left the acquarium, on our hunt for food, we walked along Piazza Mascagni. It’s a fabulous little attraction, if a little dizzying at times to look down upon while you’re walking!
An unwanted side-feature was the how far we had to walk to find we couldn’t find any halfway decent restaurants ready to accept us as walk-ins. We were baking by now and were eventually happy to walk back and grab one of the last tables in one of the more touristy places near the promenade. I had a breaded escallop with fries, which hit the spot. Niamh was less than happy with her fritto misto, unfortunately.
Once done, we headed back in the oppressive heat and humidity to the car, scorched our bums on the seat and set off for home. It was a fun day, but next time Livorno: shorts! Apologies in advance. I took one shot on the way back to the car, and one on the drive home.
That evening, we headed out to Il Sacco Fiorentino for dinner. They do the nicest fries I’ve had so far in Volterra. I think my stomach was at me, so I just had grilled veggies as a starter and then pasta with some sort of seafood. I wasn’t mad about it and only had about half of it (a very rare event for me). Niamh, on the other hand, had a lovely stew of wild boar and black olives, along with a side of tried and trusted fries.