The Versilia Coast in Tuscany: Viareggio and much more
Versilia coast, Viareggio beaches
When you say Versilia, you say fun, beach and relaxation. This is a very appreciated destination for tourists during the summer season in Tuscany. However, as you will understand reading our article about the Versilia Coast in Tuscany, it is not only about sunbathing in places like Viareggio. There is much more to do. Versilia is home to the world-wide famous Carnival and to a big music festival in Torre del Lago. Moreover, many are the natural parks and landscapes in the region, from the beautiful Apuan Alps to the white marble quarries of Carrara.

Versilia: what to see along the Riviera of Tuscany

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 Tradition of Carnival in Viareggio

Viareggio Carnival

For the first time in almost 150 years because of the pandemic, the world-wide famous Carnival of Viareggio has been postponed to september. This is a very old tradition local people really care of. During the carnival weeks, giant costumes and handmade masks show off along the famous Passeggiata. Today you can learn more about the art of paper-mache making in the dedicated museum, the Cittadella del Carnevale. There, you can have a look at old masks awarded with the annual price and discover the history behind this big cultural event in town. In addition to the music and parade along the boardwalk, the town gets lively with evening activities in the several town districts called rioni.

Torre del Lago

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.
Puccini Museum

Forte dei Marmi

The name Forte comes from the the small fort in town. Marmi means marble in Italian, the white gold in the area.

Today Forte dei Marmi is synonim of glamour. Many are the boutique shops in town and even the weekly street market is well-known in the neighbour areas. Also its elegant villas plunged in green spaces are a symbol of luxury and style.

The town is very lively during summer like the other destinations along the Versilian Riviera. The most famous nightclub is La Capannina, that became iconic in the 1970’s.

Forte dei Marmi expresses its vivacity also with literature encounters and with the famous International Satire Festival. Besides, this event takes place every year right inside the fort.


Other attractions in Versilia

Many are the attractions in the nearby areas. On the Tuscany official tourism website, you find many ideas about what to do in Versilia, together with some suggested itineraries. Indeed the Versilia Coast in Tuscany is much more than Viareggio. In any case, we will mention some of them, so that you can start thinking about your next holidays in Versilia.

Experience the Cinque Terre from Viareggio – Versilia

First of all, one of the destinations you can easily reach from here is the world-wide famous Cinque Terre in Liguria. You can get there by train or even by boat from Viareggio.
If you wish to enjoy your day in the Cinque Terre, we can personalize our tours according to your wishes.
Have a look at our website for our Cinque Terre Tour by Minivan and Ferryboat from Versilia or Private Boat Tour for a more exclusive experience.

Pietrasanta, the small Athens of Tuscany

Worth a visit is the small town of Pietrasanta. Locals call it The Small Athens of Tuscany for the many handycraft marble workshops and the marble activity.
Pietrasanta still belongs to the Versilia region and the Province of Lucca (like Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi and Torre del Lago). It is about 15 minutes away from Viareggio.
Its historic centre boasts beautiful architectural buildings and marble facades, together with the old Rocca on the top of the hill. You can see its walls from the main square. Important artists like Michelangelo and more recent ones like Fernando Botero came here. They chose the famous white marble of Carrara to create some of their best works. Today you find 15 contemporary art galleries in town. Additionally, many events still attracts many international artists during the summer season.

Visit Lucca from Viareggio – Versilia

Only half an hour driving from Viareggio, Lucca is also easily accessible by train. A day in Lucca is a must if you like history, art and architecture. The historical centre within the medieval walls is worth a visit. For example, we suggest you to visit its beautiful churches and the Guinigi Tower.
It is the perfect place to visit on foot, since no vehicles can circulate there. In addition, you can walk on the walls and explore the historic centre from a different perspective. Indeed, the almost 5-km long walls represent a real park, where to take a stroll and even cycle. Do not miss the old Roman Anphitheatre. This is the main square in the very heart of the town with its lovely restaurants and bars.
Hope you liked our aticle The Versilia Coast in Tuscany: Viareggio and much more.


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