Tuscany usually conjures up images of Renaissance cities, swathes of vineyards and mouth-watering cuisine complemented by Chianti wine. But Tuscany also boasts more than 400km of coast from Versilia to the Argentario, providing ample enjoyment for sea lovers. The soft, golden stretches of sand along the coastline of Versilia in particular are a highlight that should not be overlooked. Located in the types of landscapes that dreams are made of, beach hotels in Versilia are some of Tuscany’s best.
The best beach hotels on the Versilian Coast
Arts & Culture in Pietrasanta & Forte dei Marmi
At the foot of the Apuan Alps dipping into the Ligurian Sea, Pietrasanta is one of the most famous and populated parts of the Versilian Coast. Prized for its marble, Pietrasana has been an artist’s hub and creative epicentre for centuries making this fascinating city is the prefect destination for both classic and contemporary art enthusiasts. The city has served as a sanctuary for international sculptures and artists for over six epochs. In fact, Michelangelo created many of his sculptures using marble from Pietrasanta. Visitors can admire the abundance of art galleries, public piazzas as well as continually renewed expositions of contemporary art and sculpture. The city also boasts sandy beaches, stylish boutiques and restaurants. Talking a cultural walk through the elegant historic centre of town, visitors will notice something unusual for a Tuscan village - the city’s straight and narrow streets follow a Roman grid layout. Located five minutes away, the resort town of Forte dei Marmi is a popular travel destination for the jet set because of its clean, sandy beaches. The main attraction in Forte dei Marmi, literally meaning ‘Fort of the marbles’ in Italian, is its marble fortress, built in 1788, which is now a museum of satirical art. A market is held each Wednesday, where you can pick up designer clothes, leather goods, cashmere and other luxury goods at discounted rates. Another highlight is undoubtedly the views of the majestic mountains and marble quarries while taking a dip on the Apuan coast.
Lucca & Viareggio: Carnival culture & Luxury resorts
The beach resort of Viareggio boasts sandy beaches, luxurious resorts, amazing nightlife and high-end shopping opportunities. It is most famous for its Carnevale, dating back to 1873, held each February when the quiet beach-side promenade bursts to life with party spirit and huge floats made out of paper mâché. A handful of beautiful art nouveau façades in Viareggio recall the city’s heyday in the 1920s. A beach hotel in Viareggio is a great base from which to explore Pisa, Lucca, Livorno and Florence, all of which are no more than an hour away and accessible via public transport. Another draw card that will make for a memorable visit is nearby Torre del Lao where Giacomo Puccini lived and wrote his famous operas. Every summer, the Fondazione Festival Pucciniano is held in his honor. There’s also an open-air theatre by the lake where opera lovers can enjoy Puccini’s music under a canopy of stars. Neighboring Lucca, an ancient city just 30 minutes away from Forte dei Marni, is not to be missed. With a long history dating back to Etruscan times, Lucca’s draw cards are its marvellous Gothic architecture and ancient city walls. Visitors can grab a bite to eat and enjoy some Lucchesi wine at a historic café in the beautiful piazza and shady promenades sheltered behind the Renaissance walls.