The Central Market
The Market of Supplies, or the Central Market, overlooks the Fosso Reale and is one of the most important buildings in Livorno in the 1800s. It is reachable through the ditches, which for Livorno were the preferential routes of trade, and it is the second largest market in Europe.
It was inaugurated in 1894 and probably Amedeo Modigliani and his grandfather Isaac Garsin, in their long walks, saw it under construction.
During his first stay in Livorno in 1909, Modigliani rented a fund near the Market where he sculpted and painted. In the same year he painted the portrait “The beggar” depicting Roberto Simoncini, called Solicchio. He was a seller of the central market, who took this nickname from his habit to enjoy the sun during the sunny days. This portrait is not only important because is a rare example of paint in a period devoted almost entirely to sculpture, but also because Roberto Simoncini is a key character in the events related to the mysterious heads of Modigliani. He isn’t a character who play in favor of the legend of the heads thrown in the ditches, but he supports a more recently emerged story: he preserved the chest with the sculptures and some books that Modigliani couldn’t bring with him on his return to Paris.