Lucca


Holidays in Versilia

Versilia, sea and much more

Versilia does not need any great introduction: with its sea and sandy beaches, trendy clubs and nightlife, it has always been considered one of the most popular destinations for luxury tourism.

Worldly life but also a lot of culture, these are the visiting cards of this part of Tuscany that every year attracts visitors from all over the world. On the coast we find top-level seaside resorts such as Forte dei Marmi and Viareggio, ideal for a holiday of relaxation and fun.

Inland, on the other hand, there are magnificent historic villages such as Pietrasanta and Camaiore, splendid Romanesque churches and archaeological sites. Nature lovers can also take advantage of the Apuan Alps where, between one marble quarry and the other, you can find numerous paths for trekking and outdoor sports.

The historical Versilia corresponds to an area made up of the territories of Pietrasanta, Forte dei Marmi, Stazzema and Seravezza. To this are added the other municipalities of Versilia as it is understood today, namely Viareggio, Camaiore and Massarosa. The whole area is part of the province of Lucca and is located in the north-western area of ​​Tuscany, between the Ligurian Sea and the Apuan Alps.

Holidays in Versilia: what to do and what to see

There are many valid reasons to spend your holidays in Versilia. Summer is perfect for a beach holiday, among long sandy beaches, well-equipped bathing establishments and trendy clubs. Winter, on the other hand, is full of cultural events with literary and cinematographic events of great importance. Then there is the magic of the carnival that every year animates the streets of Viareggio with its colors.

Pietrasanta

The first destination to visit in Versilia is Pietrasanta. Historic capital of this region, Pietrasanta is called “the little Athens of Versilia” thanks to its liveliness in the artistic and cultural sphere. The proximity to the marble quarries has meant that for centuries many artists have passed through here. From the protagonists of the Renaissance to some of the most famous masters of the twentieth century, the city has welcomed many artists over time.

Strolling through its streets and squares, you will come across a series of statues that are part of the International Park of Contemporary Sculpture. The heart of the city is represented by the remarkable Piazza del Duomo where there are several monuments and museums. The most important is the magnificent Duomo which strikes the eye with its elegant white marble face. Do not miss also the Baptistery and the nearby Church of Sant’Agostino.

In Pietrasanta there are also two very interesting museums. The first is the Archaeological with finds ranging from the Copper Age to Roman times. The second is the Museo dei Bozzetti, a somewhat particular art museum because it does not exhibit the completed works, but the preparatory ones which are however in turn real works of art.

To complete the visit I recommend that you also reach the Rocca di Sala which is located in a beautiful hilly position from which it controls the whole city. Along the way to the fortress, you will also find a Giant Bench which is part of the Big Bench Community Project.

What to see in Pietrasanta Duomo of Pietrasanta
Duomo of Pietrasanta (Photo by Unukorno / CC BY)

Camaiore

Camaiore is located in the Versilian hinterland, halfway between the coast and the Apuan Alps. The excellent location makes Camaiore the perfect starting point for those who want to travel the length and breadth of Versilia. The city, among other things, has a lot to offer, above all thanks to a valuable historical and artistic heritage, the legacy of a past that has its roots in the dawn of human history.

If you are passionate about history, you could start your visit from the Archaeological Museum that will accompany you to discover Camaiore and its territory, through a long journey from the Paleolithic to the early Middle Ages. Another noteworthy museum is that of Sacred Art. At the center of the village is the beautiful Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta, while just outside the town we find the ancient Badia di San Pietro.

Badia di San Pietro near Camaiore
Badia di San Pietro in Camaiore (Photo by Davide Papalini / CC BY)

Forte dei Marmi

Forte dei Marmi is a city that has made glamor its trademark. Every year in the summer the city is filled with VIPs, celebrities and wealthy travelers who compete to be seen in its clubs and restaurants. It is easy to come across some football player, or some TV or movie character who relaxes in the sun with a good cocktail in hand.

The city is appreciated for its excellent tourist offer with first-rate hotels and bathing establishments and for its lively nightlife. Here you will find some of the most famous clubs such as the famous Capannina di Franceschi, the oldest disco still in business in the world.

As if relaxation by the sea and evening entertainment weren’t enough, in Forte dei Marmi there is no shortage of things to do and see. Among the most popular is the inevitable waterfront promenade, the visit to the historic pier and the visit to the Museum of Satire and Caricature which is located inside Fortino Lorenese.

Pier of Forte dei Marmi
Pier of Forte dei Marmi (Photo by Pepeina8 / CC BY)

Marina di Pietrasanta

Let’s continue the itinerary along the Versilia coast, talking about Marina di Pietrasanta. Located halfway between Lido di Camaiore and Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Pietrasanta boasts 4 kilometers of beaches and some of the most famous places on the Tuscan coast such as the famous Bussola.

Here is also the beautiful Versiliana Park, a large green lung of 800,000 square meters, at the center of which stands the famous Villa La Versiliana. The villa, once a holiday destination chosen by the poet D’Annunzio, is now the main venue of the La Versiliana Festival, a cultural event of international importance.

Villa La Versiliana in Marina di Pietrasanta
Villa La Versiliana (Photo by Geobia / CC BY)

Lido di Camaiore

The Versilia coast is a succession of seaside resorts renowned all over the world. Continuing south, after Marina di Pietrasanta, you reach Lido di Camaiore. The city develops along 4 kilometers of coastline. The wide beaches are characterized by a very fine and golden sand. The Lido establishments are well equipped with every possbile comfort. The city also has a beautiful pier, an ideal location for a romantic walk at sunset and to take some photos of great impact. If you are looking for fun and relaxation for the whole family, Lido di Camaiore is definitely for you.

Lido di Camaiore
Lido di Camaiore (Photo by Victor Andrade / CC BY)

Viareggio

I don’t know about you, but when I hear about Viareggio, I immediately think of the carnival. With its fantastic allegorical floats, festoons, confetti and the party in time to music, the Viareggio Carnival is certainly one of the most famous and fun events of the year.

Even if the floats are worked all year round, Viareggio is not just carnival but much more. Like any self-respecting town in Versilia, Viareggio has a long sandy beach, well-equipped bathing establishments, excellent restaurants and many clubs for the night. The avenue leading to the dock is like a large amusement park for young people, on one side the establishments by the sea, on the other the restaurants and discos where you can spend the night in joy, between dances and a few too many drinks!

Viareggio Tuscany
Viareggio (Photo by Francesca Lombardi)

Torre del Lago

Last but not least among the seaside resorts of Versilia, there is Torre del Lago Puccini. Between Viareggio and Torre del Lago the stretches of free beach increase considerably and there is also a large pine forest (Pineta di Levante) where you can take a walk.

Torre del Lago owes its name to a tower that existed in the past near the great Lake of Massaciuccoli. The name Puccini was added in 1938 to celebrate the great composer who wrote many of his operas here. Every summer the great composer is celebrated with the Puccini Festival which takes place in a large open-air theater directly overlooking the lake.

The town has an indisputable charm and has a remarkable architectural heritage thanks above all to its enchanting historic villas. The city is also famous for its marina and for being a “gay friendly” destination, especially since 1998 when the Friendly Versilia project was launched.

Seravezza

You have to go to the Upper Versilia to reach the Municipality of Seravezza. The village is located in a narrow valley crossed by two streams, the Serra and the Vezza, which take their name from the city. The name comes from a toponym of the Lombard period and the city has a long history behind it. Not without trauma unfortunately; in fact, during the Second World War, Seravezza was crossed by the Gothic Line and for this reason it suffered extensive damage.

The most interesting monuments to visit are the Church of Saints Lorenzo and Barbara, the Parish Church of San Martino alla Cappella which is located in the hamlet of Azzano and the Palazzo Mediceo which, together with the other Medici Villas, has been recognized by Unesco as a world heritage. of humanity in 2013.

Stazzema

In the Upper Versilia we also find Stazzema, the only town in the area located in a completely mountainous area. The city is sadly known for the massacre of Sant’Anna di Stazzema, which took place on 12 August 1944. This is certainly not the place to address certain topics, but my invitation is to study history to prevent certain episodes from happening again in the future. In this regard, I suggest you visit the National Park of Peace in Sant’Anna.

If you visit Stazzema you absolutely must not miss the valuable Propositura di Santa Maria Assunta. It is a very old church (documented since 850), which very well preserves its 13th century Romanesque forms. In the area there are several castles, fortified sites and sanctuaries.

In Levigliani you will find the Antro del Corchia, a huge karst system with 53 kilometers of tunnels and wells, and the Museo della Pietra Piegata, dedicated to the marble that comes from the quarries in the area and to the artifacts made with it. Finally, there are many opportunities to immerse yourself in nature and go hiking. Among the most beautiful places are Monte Forato and Monte Croce with its breathtaking views.

Massarosa

We close with the last remaining municipality of Versilia: Massarosa. The center is located inland, in an area inhabited since ancient times. In Massaciuccoli, near the lake of the same name, there are the remains of a Roman thermal complex that dates back to the 7th century BC. Also in Massaciuccoli, you can devote yourself to bird watching taking advantage of the presence of the Lipu Oasis. In the locality of Pieve a Elici there is the magnificent Pieve di San Pantaleone. Documented since the 9th century, it is considered one of the best examples of Romanesque architecture in the area. In the area there are also many villas and period residences such as Villa Baldini in Campignano which was inhabited by Paolina Bonaparte, Napoleon’s younger sister.