Tuscany Planet

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Marina di Carrara: beaches, what to see, how to get there

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What to do and what to see in Marina di Carrara

Marina di Carrara is the northernmost seaside resort in all of Tuscany. Located along the Apuan coast, on the border with Liguria, Marina di Carrara is part of the municipality of Carrara which is just 5 kilometers away. Together with Marina di Massa it occupies the entire coast of the province of Massa Carrara.

Rather popular summer holiday destination, Marina di Carrara is appreciated for its long and wide sandy beach, almost completely occupied by bathing establishments, and its proximity to cities such as Carrara and Massa as well as the Apuan Alps. The city also has several green areas, a high-level Nautical Club and an important trade fair complex that annually hosts the September Fest, an event inspired by the Bavarian OktoberFest.


The birth of Marina di Carrara, which in the past was called Marina di Avenza, is linked to the need that the Dukes of Modena had to build a port on the Tyrrhenian Sea. The attempts of the Dukes of Modena to build a seaport, starting with that of the founder of Marina di Carrara, Francesco III d’Este, were not very lucky.

The urbanization of the center and the construction of the port did not take off until 1851 when the English industrialist William Walton had the first large port structure capable of docking ships designed and built. With the development of the port, the inhabited center also developed and subsequently also the industry linked to tourism.

Marina di Carrara in Tuscany
Marina di Carrara (Photo by Gregorovius / CC BY)

Sea and beaches in Marina di Carrara

The beach of Marina di Carrara extends between the border with Liguria, to the north-west and the pier that delimits the port to the south-east. It is a very wide beach, made of fine, golden sand. The seabed slowly degrades so the water doesn’t get deep too quickly. Most of the Carrara beach is managed by equipped bathrooms that offer many services starting from the classic rental of umbrellas, deck chairs and sun loungers to continue with showers, bars, restaurants and rowing boats and pedal boats. For the safety of tourists there is also a rescue service at sea. Here you will not find the most beautiful sea in all of Tuscany but you will certainly benefit from many services and a very organized beach.

In Marina di Carrara there are also four small stretches of free beach. The northernmost one, not far from the border with Marinella di Sarzana, is intended for a dog beach, the so-called Bau Beach. Continuing along the coast, almost halfway, you will find the free beach of Fossa Maestra. This stretch is very crowded in summer but it is quite wide and if you arrive early you will find a place to put yourself. Further on there is the small free beach called La Rotonda which is located in front of Piazza Paradiso. The last piece of free beach is located in the final stretch, right next to the port.

What to see in Marina di Carrara

Marina di Carrara is certainly not a destination full of things to see. Its recent history and its development partly linked to industry and partly linked to sea tourism, have certainly not given a great impetus to the creation of monuments and museums. The most beautiful part of the city is probably Piazza Menconi which offers a large open space with a bit of urban greenery. On this square overlooks the Chiesa della Sacra Famiglia from 1886, which is the most important of the churches in Marina di Carrara.

What to do in Marina di Carrara

During the day the life of the tourist in Marina di Carrara inevitably takes place on the beach and along the sea. In the evening and at night, however, you can take advantage of the wide choice of clubs, bars and restaurants where you can spend time in a fun way. Many bathrooms have also developed the idea of the beach club by offering aperitifs by the sea, further enriching the evening offer of Marina di Massa.

Every year, between the end of August and the beginning of September, Marina di Carrara hosts the September Fest (or Carrara Bier Fest) organized together with the German city of Ingolstadt with which Carrara is twinned. In practice, the September Fest in Marina di Carrara is a sort of Italian-German Oktober Fest. If you want to spend evenings under the banner of beer (lots of beer), shanks, sausages, pretzels, dancing and singing, you absolutely must attend the September Fest!

What to see around Marina di Carrara

Marina di Carrara is a good starting point for exploring the entire province of Massa-Carrara and the nearby province of Lucca. Both Massa and Carrara certainly deserve to be visited because they are two cities rich in history and culture. Nearby there are also the Apuan Alps with the world famous marble quarries. Going north, you can explore Lunigiana, a land that is still a bit wild, full of castles and interesting places to see. Going down the coast instead you will find Marina di Massa and then Versilia where there are some of the most famous places on the Tuscan coast such as Forte dei Marmi and Viareggio.

How to get to Marina di Carrara

Marina di Carrara is located at the north-western end of Tuscany, 5 kilometers from Carrara, 10 from Massa, 50 from Lucca and Pisa and 120 from Florence. The closest railway station is Carrara-Avenza which is a couple of kilometers away. The city is also located not far from the A12 motorway exit, so it is quite easy to reach by car.

If you travel by public transport you will have to take the train to the Carrara-Avenza station and then continue with a bus that will take you to your destination in a few minutes.

By car: if you come from Florence (1h 30 ‘) and Lucca (40’) you have to take the A11 motorway to Viareggio and then turn onto the A12 to Carrara. From Pisa (45 ‘) and Livorno (1h) you have to take the SS1 Aurelia and then continue on A12. Leaving the A12 you will have to follow the signs for Marina di Carrara and in a few minutes you will be there.

Where to stay in Marina di Carrara

The hotels in Marina di Carrara are almost all located a stone’s throw from the sea, and this will allow you to reach the beach comfortably on foot without having to take the car. In the area there are also some bed and breakfasts, campsites and farmhouses. In the city you can also find apartments for rent and holiday homes.

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