“I will tell you what our stay is like. Very well, as far as board and lodging is concerned; what disturbs me a bit is the noise. We live in Via Ferdinanda, also known as Via Grande”. These words were written on August 15, 1827 by Alessandro Manzoni, one of the most famous and internationally acclaimed Italian novelists and author of “The Betrothed”, to describe his stay in Livorno.
A native of Milan and visitor to Venice and Paris he depicted it as a lively, busy city, teeming with people from different nations. He said about Via Grande, the main street, that if you imagine a wild carnival atmosphere, you will only have half of the picture of what was going on there; such is the crowd, the hustle and bustle, the shouting.
The backyard was not quiet either. There was a Greek café, the first in Livorno, whose patrons came from different countries, and read, talked and shouted until late at night.
The funny thing is that the noise also came from the upstairs apartment. Manzoni said that there were some people upstairs, he did not know who, that did something at night, he did not know what. Pietro, a friend of the novelist, assumed, and Manzoni thought he was not far from the truth, that they played a strange and unusual game jumping from one chair to another some thirty feet apart. “And winning this game must give both glory and pleasure judging from the noise they make”.