Since the 1950s, Versilia has been the queen of the Italian summer: it remains in the collective memory and imagination as a symbol of the energy and vitality of youth and music.
Located in the province of Lucca, with its blue flag-certified beaches and sea, the hills, the San Rossore park, and the Apuan Alps in the background, Versilia is an ideal destination for a holiday of relaxation and nature. You can spend your time on the beach, hiking in the Apuan Alps or in the parks, or strolling along the splendid boulevards of Viareggio and Forte dei Marmi, enjoying fresh fish dishes in one of the typical restaurants, and finally immersing yourself in the fun of the nightlife, where the lights of the night merge with those of the morning.
Versilia has in fact been one of the queens of Italian nightlife for decades, with legendary discos and clubs such as La Capannina, the Seven Apples and Twiga. Today, the area is the vanguard of elite tourism, of a worldliness that preserves its original splendour. Its good cuisine and clean sea have always made it a reference point for those seeking an exclusive holiday.
From its beaches and villages pass fashions, songs and stars (some falling) that make the history of custom and music in Italy. On its seafront there are clubs where more or less unknown singers perform, but destined for great success.
Forte dei Marmi is a piece of history of summer tourism in Italy: its name is immediately associated with bathing establishments, beach umbrellas and discos. If you are a lover of seaside holidays, at least once in your life you must come here.
It is the flagship resort of Versilia, a narrow strip of land between the sea and the Apuan Alps, famous for its long sandy beaches and its wild nightlife. The walk along the long wharf, built in the 16th century and used at the time for loading marble, is comfortable and pleasant.
Many know Forte dei Marmi as a VIP, expensive and somewhat snobbish resort, perfect for those who want high-end services, fashionable clubs and boutiques. This is undoubtedly one of its faces, but the town also has a historic centre full of museums and monuments; it is also an excellent base for exploring the other beaches of Versilia.
Behind the sandy shore, endless colourful cabins, neatly lined up, seem to frame the Apuan Alps. The marble quarries and ravaneti, snow-white patches on top of the mountains, make them appear snow-covered even in summer. They are the only mountains in the world capable of deceiving in this sense.
Marina di Pietrasanta is geographically, the continuation of a single beach that begins at the border with Liguria and ends at the Livorno promontory, without any particular differences other than administrative ones. The beach maintains its surprising width, the cabins remain aligned but the design changes, because each bathing establishment has its own personality, which can be seen even in the smallest things.
The convenience of the services present (over 100 bathing establishments on almost 5 km of coastline), the slowly sloping sea, and the wide beach that allows outdoor play, make this stretch of coast an ideal environment for families with children.
Marina di Pietrasanta, as well as the hamlet of Tonfano, have the characteristics of a seaside town, with public parks and gardens. The localities of Fiumetto, Motrone and Focette, on the other hand, are for the most part a collection of small villas merging with the pine forest.
In Lido di Camaiore, the beach is still wide, but the bathing establishments change shape. The colourful, lined-up cabins are no longer there, but are often placed at the back of the establishments, while on the beach, the tents are often transformed into ‘normal’ beach umbrellas. As already mentioned, each resort has its own peculiarity, even on the beach.
The town is very pleasant, stretches along the Pistelli promenade and is well equipped for tourist activity at every level. There are plenty of hotels, almost all of which are a stone’s throw from the sea dating back to the 1960s, lots of shops, and a nice pier, this time modern, where a stroll after dinner is a must.
There are pine trees, gardens and picnic areas everywhere. The playground in Lido di Camaiore is totally immersed in the greenery of a pine forest, to the point of becoming an integral part of it in a harmonious, characteristic whole. Finally, do not miss a ride on the panoramic wheel that is set up every year, from which you can admire a splendid panorama of the entire Versilia coastline.
The name Viareggio derives from the maritime port built by the people of Lucca, positioned along the ‘Via Regia’, which crossed the then extensive coastal forest. Today, the eastern and western pine forests remain of this forest, but the town is most famous for its promenade, one of the greatest Italian examples of Art Nouveau, with its buildings with stuccoes, arches and coloured ceramics.
Viareggio‘s beach is now completely occupied by bathing establishments and is characteristic for being lively and full of people all year round, also because of the mild climate, with temperatures that never drop too low. Viareggio is ideal for a quiet and leisurely holiday: services arrive directly on the beach and it is possible to drink a coffee, enjoy an ice cream or have lunch without straying too far from the beach umbrella.
The port is very developed, with large sailing ships mooring and a slow and continuous passage of small fishing boats, which very often sell their catch directly on the quay. Finally, do not miss Viareggio during the February weekends, where you will see huge parades of allegorical floats and experience the second most important carnival in Italy after that of Venice.
Torre del Lago Puccini, for everyone simply Torre del Lago, is a locality in the municipality of Viareggio, and also represents the southern border of Versilia, since at its southern end is the mouth of the river Serchio, after which the Migliarino-San Rossore park begins, which gives way to the coast of Pisa.
With its notable tourist receptivity, Torre del Lago is a famous seaside resort, with equipped bathing facilities alternating with free stretches, both very popular in high season, also due to the presence of bars and restaurants. Thanks to the presence of a luxuriant pine forest, in few other places in Versilia can one go from a comfortable and equipped environment to an absolutely natural one in just a few metres.
Cinquale represents the sea outlet of the Versilia river, and therefore marks the northern border of the region. Located in the municipality of Montignoso, in the province of Massa-Carrara, it has a fine sandy beach and good accommodation facilities. Entering the interior, one reaches a small airport, ideal for a tourist flight over the coast or the nearby Apuan Alps. It is also possible to attend a parachuting school.
Just across the border between Cinquale and Forte dei Marmi there is still a small forest of holm oaks, made up of fairly large trees.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
A selection of excellent facilities to fully enjoy your holiday in Versilia.