The region of Versilia is located along the northern coast of Tuscany. It is about 25 km from the historical town of Lucca. Viareggio is probably the first place you have in mind when thinking about Versilia. Summer, discos and fun identify the region of Versilia with its 20 km of beaches. In addition, the region boasts mountains, hills and natural parks in the hinterland. For this reason, it is also ideal for hikers and nature lovers, who can enjoy the beautiful landscapes offered from the Apuan Alps. Indeed, the region of Versilia includes the coastal areas of Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Pietrasanta, Lido di Camaiore, Viareggio, but also the municipalities of Montignoso, Seravezza, Stazzema, Pietrasanta, Alpi Apuane, Querceta, Camaiore and Massarosa. They all belong to the province of Lucca. Its territory is delimited from the river Cinquale in the north , from the Apuan Alps in the east, from the Lake of Massaciuccoli in the south and from the Ligurian Sea in the west.
Keep reading our article The Versilia Coast in Tuscany: Viareggio and much more to learn more about the main attractions along the Riviera: Viareggio, Torre del Lago and Forte dei Marmi.
Viareggio: much more than the Carnival
Viareggio is a seaside town about 20 km from the towns of Lucca and Pisa. Its location is quite suggestive. In fact, it is surrounded by hills and by the socalled marble mountains (the Apuan Alps), that visitor can see even from the beach. Viareggio boast a 3 km- long promenade full of shops, restaurants and bars. Everybody knows it as the Passeggiata. From there you can easily access the several beach resorts, more than 100 bathing establishments with all facilities. Moreover, the exciting night-life makes Viareggio a favorite holiday resort.
What makes the Passeggiata unique is the presence of many Art Nouveau constructions. Indeed, visitors can appreciate several palaces in the Liberty Style, like the Gran Cafè Margherita or the Bagno Balena‘s facade and some other bathing establishments recalling the early 1920’s.
Besides, the town feature two beautiful pinewoods. The Pineta di Ponente is located in the urban center and represents a real public park. The other pinewood is called Pineta di Levante and it begins at the docks. From there, it extends for 6 kilometers until Torre del Lago. A splendid panoramic avenue called Viale dei Tigli crosses the pinewood in its entire length.
Viareggio was built along the Burlamacca Canal and until the nineteenth century it was a small seaman’s and fisherman’s village. The Canal runs from the inland directly to the sea, extending out into the open sea for almost a kilometer. It divides the town into two parts.
In the years, the town played an important role in the construction of boats and yachts.
However, what made Viareggio internationally famous since is the Carnival celebrations since the late 1800’s.
The small town of Torre del Lago is directly connected to Viareggio through the beautiful pinewood mentioned above and the Darsena beach along the park.
This is a must for music lovers, since it hosts a marvellous open-air theatre dedicated to the famous Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. He spent thirty years here and took ispiration from the romantic view over the Lake of Massaciuccoli to compose many of his best works like Tosca (1900) and Madama Butterfly (1904). Every year a big music festival takes place, the Festival Pucciniano, and the small town welcomes big names of the international opera. In Torre del Lago, you also find the liberty-style house where he lived and a museum where to learn more about his life and his works. The maestro was buried in the small chapel in the garden.
The inspiring lake in front of his villa is worth a visit for the rich flora and fauna. Many species of birds migrate on this spot every year, what makes the area ideal for birdwachters. The lake belongs to the biggest Migliarino, San Rossore and Massaciuccoli Nature Park