La Venezia Nuova and Livorno’s freedom
La Venezia Nuova is a district in the center of Livorno, founded in the 17th century after the so-called “Livorno Laws”, which the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand I Medici enforced between 1591 and 1593 to increase the city’s population and economic growth.
The Medici family, who ruled over Livorno since 1421, wanted the city to become the Grand Duchy’s most important harbor. To this end, they issued a set of laws intended for merchants of any and all nationalities: whether they hailed from Spain, Portugal, Greece, Germany, Italy, Israel, Turkey, Armenia, Persia or anywhere else in the world, they were granted an extensive safe-conduct, and the freedom to come and go as they wished, trade, leave right away or come stay with their families.
The laws were successful in triggering the expansion of Livorno, soon building the image of a rich city and further strengthening its widespread reputation as a cosmopolitan urban location. After years of freedom of worship, furthermore, the laws also guaranteed immunity for any crimes committed or debts had before their enforcement.
The beautiful La Nuova Venezia bears physical testimony to this awesome story of freedom.