Guide to visiting Torre del Lago
Torre del Lago Puccini is the southernmost location among those located on the Versilia coast. The center is part of the Municipality of Viareggio and the Province of Lucca. Usually called only “Torre del Lago”, the city owes its name to the tower that once stood in the immediate vicinity of Lake Massaciuccoli. The name Puccini is a 1938 addition made to celebrate the great composer who wrote many of his most famous operas here. Torre del Lago is located inland, a couple of kilometers away from the sea, and is connected to Marina di Torre del Lago by a long avenue that crosses a majestic wooded park.
It is a destination of great charm and elegance that combines indisputable naturalistic beauties with as many architectural beauties. During the summer its marina is appreciated for the large number of clubs, restaurants and discos. Torre del Lago is also very famous for being a gay and lgbt friendly destination, especially since the Friendly Versilia project was launched.
Due to the marshy nature of the area, at least until 700 no one lived in these parts. During the eighteenth century, however, a first community of fishermen was established and gradually a residential nucleus was created which at the end of the eighteenth century had less than 200 inhabitants. A significant development of the center took place starting from the nineteenth century when the locality was not yet known as “Alla Macchia”. The name Torre del Lago dates back to 1850 and is linked to a watchtower, which was located where the Villa Puccini stands today.
In 1891 Giacomo Puccini settled in Torre del Lago describing it as a real paradise on earth. With the exception of Turandot, Puccini composed all his most famous and important works in Torre del Lago such as Tosca (1900), Madama Butterfly (1904), La Fanciulla del West (1910), La Rondine (1917) and Il Triptych (1918). Giacomo Puccini was so in love with Torre del Lago that he could not part with it. Here he lived for 30 years and was buried here after his death.
What to see and what to do in Torre del Lago Puccini
Torre del Lago is a destination of great interest. This Tuscan town offers an enviable combination of architectural and landscape beauties as well as a tourist offer linked to the sea and nightlife. The position at the bottom of the Plain of Lucca, between the famous towns of Versilia and the Migliarino, San Rossore, Massaciuccoli Regional Park is another good point in favor of this center. Renowned destination for summer holidays, Torre del Lago is appreciated for its cultural liveliness especially thanks to the famous Puccini Festival.
- What to see in Torre del Lago
- What to do in Torre del Lago
- Sea and beaches of Torre del Lago
- What to see around Torre del lago
- How to get to Torre del Lago
- Where to stay in Torre del lago
What to see in Torre del Lago
The main things to see in Torre del Lago are the historic villas, the Puccini Museum and the church of San Giuseppe.
Between the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Torre del Lago was enriched with a certain number of villas of exquisite workmanship. Among the most beautiful are the neo-Gothic Villa Orlando which overlooks the lake. Surrounded by a large park, the villa has a panoramic tower that stands out from the roof and a second small tower that is located right on the shore of the lake but it is not the one, now lost, to which the name of the city is owed.
A second villa, Villa Borbone, is located halfway between Viareggio and Torre del Lago. Built starting in 1821, this large villa was the residence of Maria Luisa of Bourbon-Spain, Duchess of Lucca.
Villa Museo Puccini
In the review of the villas of Torre del Lago, Villa Puccini could not be missing. Once owned by Giacomo Pucci, today it houses the museum dedicated to him. The villa is located in the immediate vicinity of the lake, a place that the master particularly loved and thanks to which he found inspiration for his works. When he bought it, Puccini completely renovated the villa also together with the architect Vincenzo Pilotti and with the help of some artists such as De Servi, Nomellini and Galileo Chini. If you want to get to know this great character better, you must visit the Villa Museo Puccini.
Chiesa di San Giuseppe
The church of San Giuseppe is located in the center of Torre del Lago at the intersection of Via Aurelia and Via Puccini. Built starting in 1774, the church was seriously damaged by the retreating Germans during the Second World War. Rebuilt in the 1950s, the church was subsequently renovated on several occasions. Here, in 1926, Puccini’s funeral was held. The funeral procession crossed the whole city until it reached Puccini’s villa where he is still buried. The church preserves several works including numerous frescoes and paintings made by Ferruccio Orlandi in the mid-fifties.
What to do in Torre del Lago
Torre del Lago has a truly varied tourist offer and in fact there are many things to do. In addition to the classic beach life between a swim in the sea and a nap under an umbrella, there is a lively nightlife between restaurants and discos. But that’s not all, Lake Massaciuccoli and the Regional Park of Migliarino, San Rossore, Massaciuccoli offer numerous opportunities for hiking in nature. Lovers of good music, on the other hand, will be able to appreciate the Puccini Festival which every year fills the great open-air theater of Torre del Lago.
Not far from the Villa di Puccini there is a Belvedere overlooking the lake. From there boats leave that allow you to make beautiful trips on Lake Massaciuccoli. If desired, there is also the possibility of guided excursions both to the lake and to the Regional Park of Migliarino, San Rossore, Massaciuccoli. Thanks to these excursions you can immerse yourself in nature and admire various species of plants, flowers and animals. In particular, Lake Massaciuccoli is one of the best places in Tuscany to devote to birdwatching, thanks also to the presence of a series of equipped huts that are located on its banks.
Every summer Torre del Lago is animated by the music of the Puccini Festival. Housed in the spectacular open-air theater that directly overlooks Lake Massaciuccoli, the Puccini Festival is one of the most important opera music events. If you are passionate about the genre and especially the works of Giacomo Puccini, you can’t miss this event!
What to do in the evening
Over the years Marina di Torre del Lago has grown a lot as a nightlife location. In particular, along Viale Europa, the avenue that separates the beach from the pine forest, there are many bars, restaurants, night clubs and discos. Among the best known is Mamamia which with its evenings and events has become a fixed meeting point for the gay and LGBT community that frequents Torre del Lago.
Sea and beaches of Torre del Lago
Marina di Torre del Lago has some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Versilia. They are wide and sandy beaches with the seabed that is low in the first few meters and therefore suitable for the needs of children. A part of the coast of Torre del Lago is occupied by equipped bathing establishments that offer all the services you may need, but most of the beach is free to access.
Among the most beautiful free beaches is the Lecciona Beach which is halfway between Viareggio and Torre del Lago. This beach has no services but on the other hand is perfect for those who want to be alone and relax by the sea.
Finally, I would like to point out that in Torre del Lago there is also a beach for dogs.
What to see around Torre del Lago
Starting from Torre del Lago you can go up the coast and visit all the places of Versilia which are among the most famous and sought after in the whole region. On the sea there are Viareggio, Lido di Camaiore, Marina di Pietrasanta and Forte dei Marmi. In the hinterland there are Massarosa, Camaiore, Pietrasanta, Seravezza and Stazzema.
How to get to Torre del Lago
Torre del Lago is located 3 kilometers away from Viareggio, just over 20 from Lucca, 15 km from Pisa and 90 from Florence. The city is easy to reach both by car and by public transport.
Torre del Lago has a railway station which is connected to Pisa Centrale by regional trains. If you come from Florence or from other cities in Tuscany you will probably have to reach Pisa first and then change trains. From the center of Lucca you can also reach Torre del Lago by bus in less than an hour.
By car: those coming from Florence (1h) and Lucca (30 ‘) must take the A11 motorway and then take State Road 1 to their destination. From Pisa (25 ‘) and Livorno (40’) just take the SS1 northbound.
Where to stay in Torre del Lago
Both in Torre del Lago and in nearby Viareggio there are many hotels. There is something for all tastes and budgets, from the cheapest to the 5-star luxury ones. There is also no shortage of holiday homes and villas