The carnival, the pier and its long beach. This is Viareggio, in Versilia, one of the destinations not to be missed during a holiday in Tuscany.
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The beautiful Viareggio has always been a favourite seaside destination for Tuscans. This town in the province of Lucca, with more than 60,000 inhabitants, is known throughout Italy not only for its long beach of fine sand, but also for its Carnival, one of the most important in our country.

People go to Viareggio to relax in the sun on the Versilia coast, to be spoilt and pampered by the numerous services provided by the bathing establishments, to dine at sunset with their feet on the sand, but also to enjoy the nightlife: Viareggio’s nightlife is famous for its bars and discos, its beach parties, and its movida based on aperitifs.

If you have decided that Viareggio will be the destination of your next summer holiday, or simply a relaxing weekend at the seaside, you will discover a lively town full of services, a pedestrian promenade lined with magnificent Art Nouveau buildings, a hotel offer second to none, and of course a beach that is unrivalled in Tuscany in terms of services.

The Viareggio beach

The beach in Viareggio is the main reason why tourists come on holiday here. It is a beach of fine golden sand, fully equipped. The bathing establishments follow one after the other, all of them very beautiful and well-kept, both in appearance and in the services they make available to customers.

Many of them, for example, have a private swimming pool, others organise Pilates or yoga classes on the beach, and still others instead of beach umbrellas have spacious tents that can accommodate entire families.

However, all the bathing establishments in Viareggio provide the basic services: in addition to renting beach umbrellas, deckchairs, and sunbeds, you can take advantage of showers and changing rooms, a sea rescue service, pedalo rental, and a bar.

The free beach on the Viareggio seafront is practically non-existent, except for a narrow strip near the port. Remember that access to the sea is always permitted, but it is strictly forbidden to occupy the foreshore with your towel or plant beach umbrellas, unless you are a customer of the bathing establishments.

Lecciona Beach

South of the town of Viareggio and the port, shared with the resort of Torre del Lago Puccini, is the wide Lecciona beach. It is a completely free beach immersed in nature: behind it there is a dense Mediterranean scrub, which soon turns into a large pine forest traversed by a few footpaths, which then lead to the sea.

The Lecciona beach is the exact opposite of the Viareggio beach, as it is very long and you can even find areas where you will be totally isolated. The beach has no facilities, so bring water and food.

What to do in Viareggio

Viareggio is a very touristy town, where the undisputed protagonists are the sea and the beach. There are not too many things to see of historical interest, monuments or museums of extraordinary importance. Therefore, enjoy the days in the sun, stroll along the seafront, take a trip to the harbour and taste the typical fish dishes of Versilia’s gastronomy.

Viareggio waterfront

Viareggio’s seafront is always crowded with people walking along it, from first light until late at night. It is this area of the city that can be considered the centre, even though it stretches almost two kilometres in length, from the pier to the Principe di Piemonte hotel. Walking up and down the promenade, you can stop and look at the shop windows and boutiques, have a drink at one of the many bars, dine al fresco or simply people-watch.

Parallel to the pedestrian promenade is an extensive cycle path, which leads all the way to Lido di Camaiore and beyond, while across the street are many hotels, some of which are of major importance for Tuscan tourism.

Art Nouveau in Viareggio

Some of the buildings along the Viareggio seafront, including some bathing establishments, are elegant Art Nouveau constructions from the early 20th century.

Worthy of note are the ‘Gran Caffè Margherita’ and the former ‘Caffè Savoia’, now renamed ‘Caffè liberty’, which hosted some of the most important personalities of the time: Guglielmo Marconi, Ermete Zacconi, Giacomo Puccini and many others.

The splendid ‘Gran Caffè Margherita’ with its unmistakable dome, the city’s exclusive meeting place, still dominates the promenade today, while the ‘Caffè liberty’, protected by the Sovrintendenza ai Beni Culturali e Ambientali, has retained its original structure and decorations. It is still possible to admire the designs, stuccoes, ceiling lights and decorations, all works by Chini.

Viareggio Pier and Harbour

At the end of the pedestrian promenade, south of the town, is the harbour of Viareggio. Take a walk around the Eugenio Guidotti pier, which runs alongside the canal that flows into the sea, stop to look at some beautifully crafted yachts and end the evening with a delicious fresh fish dinner at one of the restaurants that line it.

The port of Viareggio is of primary importance for the town’s economy, including the tourist economy, as boats for daily tourist excursions leave from here, for other locations in Versilia and even for the Cinque Terre.

Viareggio Carnival

Viareggio is famous throughout Italy for being the site of one of the most important carnival events in our country. The Viareggio Carnival attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year, who concentrate on the town’s seafront during the weekends of February and March to admire the enormous allegorical floats that are built over the course of an entire year.

Often inspired by satire, politics or costume events, the Viareggio Carnival floats are made of papier-mâché, and the Viareggio tradition of parading them dates back as far as 1873. But the carnival in Viareggio is much more than that. Parties and festivities accompany the event for its entire duration, and during these days the city’s various districts organise parties, dinners with typical dishes and masked balls, which last for the entire period.

In Viareggio, there are also two institutions linked to Carnival that live for the whole year: they are the Cittadella del Carnevale, Europe’s largest theme park dedicated to masks, composed of 16 hangars inside which the floats are built, and the Museo del Carnevale, which tells the story of this great festival, how it has evolved over the centuries and the way the floats are built.

Viareggio Pine forest

The road running parallel to the Viareggio promenade is Viale Michelangelo Buonarroti, which represents the eastern boundary of the Viareggio pine forest, a veritable green lung completely immersed in the urban fabric of the city, so much so that, in a small way, it is somewhat reminiscent of Manhattan’s Central Park.

In the Viareggio pine forest you can walk, rent bicycles, or have a drink in the numerous kiosks inside. There are also a few restaurants, a children’s train that travels the length and breadth of the park, and the Teatro Estate, an open-air space where plays are performed.

Where to stay in Viareggio

Viareggio is a very traditional seaside destination, and therefore the main forms of accommodation are hotels. There are hotels to suit all tastes and budgets, including two 5-star hotels. Many of them are located directly on the seafront, which proves to be by far the ideal area to stay in Viareggio as you are a stone’s throw from the sea, the pine forest and the shops. As you move inland, prices decrease, and this can be a winning strategy for those who do not have too much budget at their disposal.

Private rentals, in the form of flats, have also developed recently. Bed and breakfasts, on the other hand, are almost absent.

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How to reach Viareggio

Viareggio is very easy to reach, as it lies at the junction of the A11 Firenze-Mare and A12 Genova-Rosignano Marittimo motorways. From Florence it takes less than an hour, from Pisa only 30 minutes, the same from the centre of Lucca.

Viareggio is also very convenient to reach by public transport, as the town has a very important railway station, which receives regional and intercity trains from the Tuscan coast and hinterland. Trains from Florence depart frequently, and the journey takes about one hour and 30 minutes.

Viareggio Weather

What's the weather at Viareggio? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Viareggio for the next few days.

Saturday 20
Sunday 21
Monday 22
Tuesday 23
Wednesday 24
Thursday 25

Where is located Viareggio

Viareggio is located in Versilia, a coastal stretch of the province of Lucca. Located between Lido di Camaiore and Torre del Lago, it can be easily reached from the capital and the rest of the Tuscan coast.

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