Navicelli channel Live Cam

Located from Lake Bientina to the area of Empoli


The Navicelli Channel, also known as the "Canale dei Navicelli," is an important historical waterway located in Tuscany, Italy. Its construction and development played a significant role in the region's economic and maritime history.

Construction and Purpose: The channel was built between 1563 and 1575 during the rule of Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici of Tuscany. The primary purpose of its construction was to connect the city of Pisa to the nearby port town of Livorno, which lies on the western coast of Tuscany along the Ligurian Sea.

The channel was designed to facilitate the transportation of goods and merchandise, particularly timber, from the interior of Tuscany to the port of Livorno. This made it easier for Pisa, and the surrounding areas, to engage in maritime trade and participate in the flourishing maritime commerce of the time.

Layout and Function: The Navicelli Channel is an artificial waterway with a length of about 20 kilometers (approximately 12.5 miles). It runs in a nearly straight line, following a gentle gradient to ensure a smooth flow of water. The channel was initially navigated using flat-bottomed boats known as "navicelli," which were specifically designed for this waterway.

The design and construction of the channel were quite advanced for its time. The engineers employed innovative techniques, such as locks and sluices, to regulate the water level and ensure a continuous flow along the channel. This way, ships and boats could navigate the waterway with relative ease and transport their cargo between Pisa and Livorno.

Economic Impact: The completion of the Navicelli Channel brought about significant economic benefits to the region. The channel contributed to the development and growth of Livorno as a major port city, which further stimulated trade and commerce in the area. The export of timber, agricultural products, and other goods through Livorno contributed to the region's prosperity.

Decline and Restoration: Over the centuries, the importance of the Navicelli Channel declined as other transportation methods, such as railways and improved road networks, became more prevalent. As a result, the channel fell into disrepair and was largely abandoned.

However, in more recent times, there have been efforts to restore and preserve the historical significance of the Navicelli Channel. Restoration projects have been undertaken to revitalize the waterway for recreational purposes and to promote tourism in the region. Today, the Navicelli Channel is not only a historical landmark but also a charming water route for boating enthusiasts and tourists looking to explore Tuscany's picturesque countryside from a unique perspective.

Historical Facts

  • Cosimo I de' Medici's Vision: The idea for the Navicelli Channel originated with Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici of Tuscany. He recognized the strategic importance of connecting the city of Pisa with the nearby port town of Livorno to facilitate trade and economic growth.
  • Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci: The design and construction of the channel were influenced by the concepts and ideas of the renowned Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci. Although he didn't directly work on the project, his studies on hydraulics and canal systems inspired the engineers who undertook its construction.
  • Labor-Intensive Construction: Building the Navicelli Channel was a massive undertaking. The construction required extensive excavation and the labor of thousands of workers who toiled for several years to complete the waterway.
  • Control of Water Levels: The engineers incorporated locks and sluices along the channel to control the water levels and ensure a consistent flow of water. This allowed boats to navigate the channel efficiently and overcome changes in elevation.
  • Success in Trade: After its completion, the Navicelli Channel significantly contributed to the economic success of Livorno. The city experienced increased maritime trade and became a bustling port, connecting Tuscany to the broader Mediterranean trade network.
  • Decline and Neglect: As more modern transportation methods emerged, such as railways and improved road networks, the Navicelli Channel gradually lost its significance. Neglect and lack of maintenance led to its decline over the centuries.
  • Revival Efforts: In the 20th century, there was renewed interest in preserving and restoring the historical significance of the Navicelli Channel. Restoration projects aimed to revive the waterway for recreational use and to highlight its historical value.
  • Modern Use: Today, the Navicelli Channel serves as a cultural and recreational attraction. It provides a scenic route for boating enthusiasts and tourists, allowing them to experience Tuscany's beauty from the water.
  • Protected Cultural Heritage: The Navicelli Channel is considered an important part of Italy's cultural heritage. Its historical significance is recognized and protected by various authorities to ensure its preservation for future generations.
  • Landmark and Tourist Attraction: The Navicelli Channel has become a landmark and popular tourist destination in Tuscany. Visitors can explore the history and engineering of the waterway while enjoying the picturesque landscapes along its banks.

Overall, the Navicelli Channel stands as a testament to the ingenuity of its creators and its lasting impact on the economic and maritime history of Tuscany. Its historical importance and restored beauty continue to captivate locals and visitors alike.


The Navicelli Channel, or Canale dei Navicelli, is a man-made waterway located in the region of Tuscany in Italy. It runs from the city of Pisa to the port town of Livorno, providing a direct connection between the two cities. Here are some key points about the geography of the Navicelli Channel:

  • Location: The channel is situated in the western part of Tuscany, a region known for its picturesque landscapes and rich history. It lies along the western coast of Italy, bordering the Ligurian Sea.
  • Length: The Navicelli Channel stretches for approximately 20 kilometers (about 12.5 miles) from its starting point in Pisa to its endpoint in Livorno.
  • Alignment: The waterway runs in a relatively straight line between Pisa and Livorno, following a gentle and consistent gradient to ensure a smooth flow of water.
  • Connection between Pisa and Livorno: The channel starts in Pisa, a city famous for its leaning tower and historic architecture. It meanders through the Tuscan countryside, passing through farmlands and rural areas, before reaching the city of Livorno, an important port and coastal town.
  • Surrounding Landscape: The Navicelli Channel is flanked by picturesque landscapes typical of the Tuscan countryside. You can expect to see rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves, and various crops along the banks of the waterway.
  • Infrastructure: To ensure navigability and proper water flow, the channel features a system of locks and sluices at strategic points. These engineering structures allow boats to overcome changes in water levels and safely navigate the waterway.
  • Recreational Use: In modern times, the Navicelli Channel has been revitalized and repurposed for recreational activities. Boating enthusiasts and tourists can now enjoy leisurely boat trips along the channel, taking in the scenic beauty of the surrounding countryside.
  • Cultural Significance: The channel's historical importance, engineering achievements, and cultural value have earned it recognition and protection as an essential part of Italy's heritage.

Overall, the Navicelli Channel's geography adds to its charm and allure, making it a unique way to experience the beauty of Tuscany while also connecting to the region's rich maritime history.