Small, compact, attractive, reliable, competent machine with slightly dated, but functional technology.
Positive Product Points
Great look, design and aesthetics. Compact size. Good, quality, consistent performance. Trouble-free and reliable. Easy to maintain.
Negative Product Points
Needs a modified, metal two-hole, small aperture steam tip (from ChrisCoffee) for easy microfoaming. Four hole tip is impossible for steaming. I had two nylon, turbo steam tips. One works great and very easily; the other cannot produce microfoam. Maybe the Livia should be updated with a no-burn steam wand.
I bought a lightly used, Livia 90 Automatic through Craigslist. ( I also had a Livia 90 semi-auto that made even better espressos, but I could never figure out why). I made one small, easy modificaton to the Livia Auto. The insulation between the circuit board and the boiler may be perfectly adequate. To me, the insulation looked thin. So I added another piece of insulation to further isolate heat (heat shortens the life of electrical components). I replaced the gasket in the grouphead, and replaced the front panel, gauge which was not working. That's it.
IMPORTANT: Several recent posts state that parts are no longer available and that the Livia is no longer supported by Pasquini. I became alarmed at this mis-information. So, I called Pasquini to see if it is true (on Dec., 22, 2011). Emphatically, it is untrue (false) and those posts are misinformed. As an aside, I have absolutely no ties or association to Pasquini.
As to reliability, it is my observation regarding much mechanical equipment, that many people simply do not understand best practices. I have been advised by numerous service departments and technicians who service and repair espresso machines, that the most problems they see are from over-use of cleaning chemicals and de-scaling too frequently. I keep my Livia clean, back-flush every day with water, clean the shower weekly and de-scale maybe once a year. I have been advised to use chemicals such as Urnex Cafiza or Puro Caff only several times a year--certainly no more than monthly if for very heavy use. I make two to three double shots per day. That is my usage.
Regarding de-scaling, we can maintain our machines (any brand) just by using correct water--and using aggressive water such as distilled or RO with small amounts of tap water for electrolytes for a period, to re-absorb scale. Water chemistry is another discussion.
Finally, I also have a fairly new, La Spaziale dual boiler, with electronically controlled or stabilized temperature. Yes, a dual-boiler, PID machine is very consistent and very easy. Nevertheless, I suppose because I like the looks of the Pasquini and because it fits on the kitchen counter better at the house where I spend most time, I find I use the Pasquini much more than the La Spaziale. HX or dual-boiler doesn't make much difference to me. A little more work to surf the temperature with the Livia--but it is consistently good.