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  • Facade of the Oil "Bottini", Livorno.zoom in altra finestra
  • Commemorative plaque of 1705 over the entrance of the Oil "Bottini", Livorno.zoom in altra finestra

Oil "Bottini"

The oil "bottini" (kegs) are large containers used to store oil. As two plaques on the facade of the building recall, the work was completed in 1705 under the reign of Cosimo III de’ Medici, and was enlarged in 1731 by his successor Gian Gastone. A canal connected the structure, situated in the quarter known as Venezia Nuova, to the nearby port.

The more than 300 kegs of varying dimensions had an overall capacity of approximately 24,000 oil barrels (8000 hl). Built in masonry lined with slate, they are in part interred. A label identified the characteristics of the oil contained in the keg. The building also had a laboratory where oil was purified and several offices where tuns, barrels, and casks (usually long and narrow and called "caratelli") were calibrated.

They were intended for the exclusive use of oil merchants, but were later also used to store various types of grain. They conserved the function of port storage until 1898 when, following the modification of the waterways, their berth was interred, and is currently being restored. The Bottini were then used by the Commune as accommodations for evacuees and as an equipment warehouse. Restoration conducted over the past decades has resulted in the architectural recovery of this unique structure. The ground floor is used for exhibitions, while the upper floor hosts a section of the "Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi" Communal Library of Livorno.


Texts by Graziano Magrini

English translation by Victor Beard

Last update 15/feb/2008