Forte dei Marmi, elegance and luxury in Versilia
Forte dei Marmi is one of the most renowned seaside resorts in Italy. Located on the Versilia coast in the province of Lucca, the city is a destination for tourists from all over the world. It is a luxury tourism: Forte dei Marmi has an excellent offer in terms of services, hotels, shops, restaurants and discos but inevitably also has above average prices.
The tourism sector has developed steadily during the twentieth century with a real boom between the 60s and the 70s. It was in that period that Forte dei Marmi became the destination of choice for numerous VIPs and members of the Italian and international jet set. Even today it is easy to meet television personalities, footballers and celebrities of all kinds at the Forte.
The city is appreciated for the elegance of its buildings, the beautiful streets of the center and the promenade on which there are well-equipped bathing establishments and trendy clubs. The symbolic monuments of the city are the Fort and the Pier which was once used to load marble from the Apuan quarries.
The origin of the center dates back to Roman times but to witness an important development it was necessary to wait until the sixteenth century, when the road that connected the marble quarries to the sea was opened. During the seventeenth century the area was reclaimed and the first settlements began to rise directly on the coast. In 1788 the Lorraine family built what is still today one of the most famous monuments in Forte dei Marmi: the Fortino. The twentieth century was finally the century that saw the birth of tourism in Versilia.
Today Forte dei Marmi is famous for its beaches and its nightlife. Its historic discos, such as Twiga and Capannina, are a popular destination for young and old in search of fun.
What to see and what to do in Forte dei Marmi
There are many reasons to visit Forte dei Marmi. First of all there is the sea, enhanced by the numerous equipped bathing establishments. Then there are clubs and discos that are literally besieged in summer and on weekends. Shopping is also not to be neglected as Forte dei Marmi is full of shops and boutiques of all the major international brands. Then there are some beautiful things to see, events and a beautiful location on the sea but not far from the Apuan Alps and other interesting centers.
The center of Forte dei Marmi is characterized by beautiful buildings, many luxury shops, well-kept parks and pine forests, many hotels and restaurants. In the heart of the city there is also the Lorraine Fort which is usually called the “Fortino“. The small fortress was built in the eighteenth century, at the time of the Lorraine grand dukes, with defensive and sighting functions on the coast. In the same period the forts of Bibbona and Castagneto were also built. At the time, the Fortino was part of a system that included two other forts, which were destroyed during the Second World War, which were located in Cinquale and Motrone. In the past, the Lorraine Fort was also used as a deposit for marble from the Apuan Alps while today it houses the Museum of Satire and Caricature.
It is a solid complex with a quadrangular plan, consisting of two buildings connected to each other. The main building has a rectangular shape and has all the features of a normal building. The other is a bastion with a scarp base and brick masonry that certainly betrays its military past more. Above the bastion there is a large terrace that once served as a lookout post (it is no coincidence that it faces the sea).
The classic seafront promenade is certainly one of the main things to do in Forte dei Marmi. The walk is pleasant to do both on foot and by bicycle which, thanks to the numerous cycle paths in Forte dei Marmi, is a particularly suitable way to get around the city. The route is embellished with palm trees and oleanders, luxurious restaurants and clubs and beautiful villas.
Right in the middle of the coast of Forte dei Marmi, there is a large circular square. The center of this square is occupied by Controvento, a large statue made by the Czech artist Anna Chromy. Passing the statue you reach the pier, a real symbol of Forte dei Marmi. A first version of the pier was built in the sixteenth century but over time Forte dei Marmi acquired more and more importance in the traffic of marble so, in the nineteenth the old pier was replaced with a new one. The current pier dates back to the second post-war period since the nineteenth-century one was destroyed by the Germans.
With its 275 meters in length, the Forte dei Marmi jetty represents one of the most interesting points of view on the city and its beaches. As you can imagine, the pier at sunset represents the romantic place par excellence of the city.
Beach and sea
We talked about the Fort, the shops and discos, the promenade and the pier. The last thing we have to see is the Forte dei Marmi beach. The beaches of the Forte are sandy and the seabed is rather shallow, which makes them perfect for a beach holiday with children. The bathing establishments of Forte dei Marmi are among the best in all of Tuscany. The services offered are numerous and able to satisfy even the most demanding travelers. There are also small stretches of beach that can be accessed for free.
Forte dei Marmi is also a popular destination for surfers and kitesurfers. There is never a shortage of waves and wind and surfers can find everything they need here. At the Forte there are also schools that organize sailing and surfing courses suitable for all levels, and specialized shops dedicated entirely to lovers of these sports.
Dog lovers also have reason to choose the Forte as a holiday destination. Even with some limitations (leash and muzzle), numerous establishments accept dogs and even on the free beach Le Dune you can bring your four-legged friends.
Forte dei Marmi is a city always on the move and full of events, especially in summer and in the period between Christmas and New Year. Among the main celebrations is the Feast of Sant’Ermete, patron saint of the city, which takes place between 27 and 28 August. Tradition has it that on the evening of the 27th a propitiatory fire is lit in the central square, while on the 28th the city is animated by a large fair and a fireworks display. Forte dei Marmi is also known for its antiques markets which are active during the winter weekends.
What to see around Forte dei Marmi
Versilia has numerous seaside resorts renowned for their services and nightlife such as Viareggio and Lido di Camaiore. From the Forte it is also easy to reach the Ligurian coast and the Cinque Terre which are connected by ferry. In Versilia I recommend you also visit Camaiore and Pietrasanta. If, on the other hand, you want some ideas for a trip to the Apuan Alps, I suggest you read the dedicated guide.
How to get to Forte dei Marmi
By car: the fastest way to reach Forte dei Marmi by car is on the A12 motorway with the Versilia exit. Those coming from Florence must take the A11 to Pisa Nord and then the A12. From Milan A1 to Fidenza, then A15 to La Spezia and finally A12. From Rome instead A1 to Florence then A11 and A12.
By train: the closest railway stations are that of Forte dei Marmi Seravezza-Querceta, which is located in Querceta about 4 kilometers from the center of Forte dei Marmi, and that of Viareggio. Both stations are served by buses and taxis that allow you to reach all the towns of Versilia.